by Marvin Weir
Man is not a plant or an animal. Man was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27) and has the ability to reason and think. This being the case, God expects humans to be reasonable creatures! Christ hurled His challenge to men in this manner: “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doth not first sit down and count the cost, whether he have wherewith to complete it? Lest haply, when he hath laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all that behold begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish” (Luke 14:28-30). If we are wise, then surely we do not want our lives to end in confusion and shame like those who began the tower of Babel (cf. Gen. 11:4, 8-9).
To live the Christian life is a serious and solemn matter. Let us count the cost of being a child of God. We must count on:
Giving up sin. Christ gave His life for us that He might “redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people for his own possession, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14). Sin is the very worst of all the investments man can make! Every facet associated with sin is rotten to the core. A Christian must be willing to repent of his sins. Repentance involves a “turning from” sin, and the determination to practice it no more (cf. Matt. 21:29). Many people today want to go to Heaven while living in sin (Col. 3:7). But those who continue to practice sin will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9; Gal. 5:21)! We must count the cost, as there is a price to be paid for giving up sin.
Surrendering the will. We must count the cost of denying self and following Christ (Matt. 16:24). Paul makes it clear that the body should not control the mind, but the mind the body (1 Cor. 9:27). We must count what it will cost to put Christ and His kingdom first in everything that we do (Matt. 6:33). A failure to do such will lead to “will-worship” (Col. 2:23). Coffman comments on “will-worship” as follows:
Whatever human precepts and ordinances may exhibit as to their “wisdom,” it is a delusion, for “they are not of any value.” Will-worship means the kind of actions engaged in because they please the worshiper, and not because they were commanded by the Lord. Humility is a fine thing, if it is true humility; but a false humility pretending to be too God-fearing to approach God as God has directed, and then seeking to approach through some angel, or human mediator, or through some deceased saint, such so-called humility is actually spiritual arrogance.
One who does not count the cost of denying self will bind where the Lord has not bound, and loose where the Lord has not loosed! A refusal to surrender the will is the chief cause of division in religion today.
Separation from the world. The Bible is very clear in regard to this matter. John says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). A Christian has undergone a transformation, and will not conform to sinful matters (Rom. 12:2). One living for Christ has counted the cost and has buried the old man (Col. 2:12) to become a “new creature” in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17). The cost must be counted for refusing to be “unequally yoked with unbelievers” and coming “out from among” those who stand opposed to Christ and His teaching (2 Cor. 6:14, 17).
Opposition by the world. One who seeks to live godly will “suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). Christ warned His apostles, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake” (Luke 21:17). He also gives the reason why worldly people oppose Christians in saying, “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his works should be reproved” (John 3:19-20). Abel suffered and died because his works were righteous (Gen. 4:4, 8). But as you count the cost of living righteously, remember these words of Christ: “In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Temptation by the devil. Satan seeks to devour Christians – not non-Christians (1 Pet. 5:8). Why? A non- Christian is already in bondage to and serving the devil (Rom. 6:6, 16). For this reason, Satan will not tempt non-Christians as he does Christians! Satan attacks Christians through “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vainglory of life” (1 John 2:16). A Christian must count the cost and remember that God “will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
It is a necessary and solemn matter to count the cost!