But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Matthew 3:7-10 (NKJV)
It is important to point out that in Christ we are already righteous according to Romans 3:22 and other Bible verses. Nevertheless, what we are in Christ is not an excuse for us to walk without responsibility. The grace of God is not an excuse to sin, but a motivation to pursue holiness.
The Bible encourages us to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh according to Galatians 5:16. Our flesh, the world system and every demon in hell will come against that kind of walk and will affect our daily decision making, however; even with all that we are already in Christ, we are told how to walk.
When it comes down to salvation I am a Calvinist. I don’t agree with all five Calvinistic points, however, I do agree that salvation is all God’s doing. I do not subscribe to the Arminian view of salvation as one that involves men making the decision to accept God; that men actually cooperate in any way in their own salvation. Ephesians 2:9 zeal the mater for me,
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (NKJV)
Salvation is indeed by grace alone, by faith alone and all for the glory of God. This is indeed the heart of the Reformation. No works can possibly be added to our own salvation. I say these things to establish that when it comes down to our holiness, even as it is God who does the hard work of changing our heart, it does require our cooperation. Well, perhaps I was too soft on this last sentence. Let me be sincerer; holiness, the pursued of God, the separation from the world system to be use by God for His glory will cost us EVERYTHING.
- It will cost for us to deny ourselves. (Mathew 16:24)
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (KJV)
- It will cost us to turn away from the culture of the world system, what they define as acceptable and not acceptable and whatever they have to offer.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)
- It will cost us losing our lives. (Luke 17:33)
Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. (KJV)
- It will cost us to give up many friendships. (James 4:4)
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (KJV)
- In some cases, it will cost us our own families. (Matthew 10:34-37)
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. (NKJV)
- It will cost us persecution. (Timothy 3:1-12)
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (NKJV)
However, on the other side of paying this price there are also remarkable blessings. Those blessing will describe in another article. God bless!