Heavenly Cost or Worldly Loss
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18)
Perspective is everything
One of the most astute and discerning pastors and preachers of the 20th century, medical doctor, Martin Lloyd Jones, did not regard the cost of becoming a Christian anything because he possessed an eternal perspective. He walked away from the top of his profession when he was twenty-five.
Jesus said, "If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matthew 16:24, 25). When death is a cost, everything else just doesn't seem very important.
Jesus said, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple" (Matthew 14:26). God ordained the institution of the family; however, He did not decree it to be more important than Him. An institution He creates in time is not greater than His eternal being. Neither are we to regard it as such. Do we love Him more than these?
Jesus was not unclear about the resolve necessary to follow Him. "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matthew 16:25). To be cast from the presence of the Lord is to exist in a state of death. To receive Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation from our sins is to thrive with eternal life from within.
Jesus proposed this scenario, "For what good will it do a person if he gains the whole world, but forfeits his soul?" (Matthew 16:26) Life is but a vapor; it no sooner rises than it vanishes away forever. John recorded the end of all human history, just before the creation of a New Heaven and earth. "And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." As all world leaders will be, so will be their followers.
Jesus' concluding question is profounding simple and yet so extremely difficult for a sinner to embrace. "What will a person give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26b). In other words, what is more valuable than a person's existence? Furthermore, what is more valuable than the condition of a person's existence?
The incomprehensible glory of the eternal New Heaven and earth is the glory of God, His character, and holiness. Love will be on display forever in all God's divine justice. His creation will be an extension of His love and justice. The souls of His saints will perfectly reflect His inner goodness and humility. What can we give in exchange for that?
For two thousand years, the West has grown under the brilliant light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Nations have flourished as people have embraced the principles of love over pagan heathenism and demonic worship.
At the same time, Anti-Christian religions have dominated the East, enslaved people, and given birth to Communism. Gradually, in the West, Higher Criticism has been used to devalue the Bible, eliminate the king, debunk creation, and establish evolution as the basis for the world religion of humanism.
Furthermore, seducing spirits and doctrines of demons have advocated for a new form of Christianity, devoid and self-denial, embracing the world system under the guise of winning it for Christ. The Church has bought into the idea of embracing the world instead of coming out and being separate from it.
Additionally, a godly character has been upstaged by worldly means of "success." Professionalism has replaced prayer; scholasticism has supplanted divine wisdom, and narcissism has overthrown Jesus embracing lowliness of heart and humility of soul.