While contemporary preachers speak on anything from Harry Potter to marital intimacy, very rarely will they address an important topic that is all too neglected today: what it may cost you to be a Christian. If there was ever a message that is lacking it is that Christianity is hard.
Almost never do people hear Jesus’ warning to count the cost – to think about what Jesus asks for and consider if following Him is worth what you must give up. No one is told that while grace is free, it will likely cost you everything. Instead, they’re urged, without much thought, to recite a simple incantation we call the “Sinner’s Prayer”. We pat ourselves on the back and boast of how many people raised their hands or walked to the altar – a hundred last week, eighty-five this Sunday. As long as they’re sincere, God will usher them into the Kingdom.
But what happens when the promised persecution, temptation, and tribulation come the professor’s way? Having heard nothing of these troubles, they’ll think to themselves they were mislead, shortchanged, or the victim of a spiritual bait-and-switch. The evangelist who had them sign a card neglected to mention these inevitable hardships. Christianity was supposed to make their lives better and easier, not the opposite. Jesus was going to bring them happiness, fulfillment, and maybe even a bigger house. When harsh reality kicks through the door, these professors are left wanting, and some even left without faith. Those turning away from the Gospel are now forever hardened to it, inoculated against all things Jesus Christ.
Only the solid preaching of the whole counsel of the Law to bring about the conviction of sin can remedy this. People also must hear about the high cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ: total and complete death to self. This means utter devotion to Christ – no more partying, pornography, or endless hours playing World of Warcraft.
When God truly saves an individual and causes them to be born-again, nothing sent their way can make them lose their faith, for who else carries the words of eternal life?