Monday, February 13, 2012

Is there a cost to your Christianity?

I was struck by this daily Grace Gem written by J. C. Ryle:

Is there any cross in your Christianity?

There is a common worldly kind of Christianity in this day, which many have--a cheap Christianity . . .
which offends nobody,
which requires no sacrifice,
which costs nothing--and is worth nothing!

But if you really are in earnest about your soul,
if your religion is something more than a mere fashionable Sunday cloak,
if you are determined to live by the Bible,
if you are resolved to be a New Testament Christian--
then you will soon find that you must carry a cross. You must endure hard things; you must suffer in behalf of your soul, as Moses did--or you cannot be saved.

The offense of the cross is not ceased!

God's true people are still a despised little flock.

True evangelical religion still brings with it reproach and scorn.

A real servant of God will still be thought an enthusiast and a fool by many.

If there is no cross--there will be no crown!

I can say with confidence that we, in America, will one day suffer persecution to a degree we have never known yet, Christians in 3d world countries see everyday. When I read the Voice of the Martyrs my heart sinks and I feel helpless to do anything. What I don't realize is that my prayers are heard by our great God who is sovereign in all things and allows all things for a purpose.

I learned something very important when reading last months issue and that is, don't pray for those who suffer to be released from their chains or sufferings, rather pray for God to be glorified and to give endurance and peace to those suffering so that God's Word might go forth in the power of the Holy Spirit. If God allowed them to be where they are, He has a purpose and to pray for it to be removed would be like praying that the Gospel will stop being preached! WOW! I would have never thought of it that way.

Now, back to America where Christianity is only less than tolerated but not truly persecuted. Let's look back at J. C. Ryle's quote:
which offends nobody,
which requires no sacrifice,
which costs nothing--and is worth nothing!
Do you always worry that you will offend someone by telling them you are a Christian or calling out a false teacher or false religion? Why? Because someone may give you a tongue lashing? Others wish they were as fortunate! We must be bold in our faith and proclaim the Gospel wherever and whenever we can by the power of the Holy Spirit that lives within us. We must refute false teachers and false religions and tell the world that Jesus is the only way, not one of many! Thousands are being led astray everyday by those who don't want to offend. The Gospel is offensive, especially to sinners who want nothing to do with it!

If your Christianity costs you nothing, perhaps you never "bought" it! Bear your cross daily for the sake of the Gospel and when you reach Glory you will hear those long awaited words: "well done, good and faithful servant"!! God help me persevere and in love, offend with the Gospel!

For His glory and because of His grace,