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Counting The Cost

Every decision we make in life has some effect upon us from that time forward. God gives each person the privilege of responding to His invitation to salvation. This is the most important decision anyone will make in their lifetime. However, each one must freely choose for themselves. Oftentimes we see people choosing to become Christians by considering only the privileges of receiving eternal life. One of the Creator's promises is, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Along with the promised privilege comes the price. Ignoring the costs contracted in becoming a Christian will not change the Word of God which says there is a price of responsibility that accompanies our decision. The cost? Obeying His commandments. "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15).

We hear so often about God's love and grace (unmerited pardon), that it is easy to forget or totally ignore His commandments. Of course, we should always acknowledge His love and grace. If God did not love us, Jesus would not have been sent to die for our sins.

Untempered justice would demand death to all mankind. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). 'Mere is simply no way to escape the fact, we are born sinners. Without God's grace, expressed through Jesus Christ who died for us, we would be completely without hope for eternal life.

What Is Sin?

Sometimes it is amusing to hear how people answer the question, "what is sin?"

Some will say it is playing cards or going to movies. Others say it is watching TV or drinking a glass of wine or even dancing. While a Christian would certainly want to watch his or her conduct in the above activities, the Bible never calls any of these things sin. The Biblical definition for sin is, in part, breaking the commandments of God. "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law:for sin is the trangression of the law" (I John 3:4).

Somehow, people get the idea that God gave His law to keep us from having any fun in this life. Just the opposite is true. Consider His Word, "And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always..." (Deuteronomy 6:24). "To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good" (Deuteronomy 10: 13).

Just think of the misery to millions caused by those who have chosen to ignore God's commandments. Murderers have left orphans and widows in their wake of terror. Billions of dollars are added to the cost of goods because of thieves in the market and workplace. The venereal diseases and unwanted pregnancies are caused by adultery, many of which are ended in abortion, with its emotional scars remaining on the mother. Obeying God is more than idealism. It is both true and practical to suggest that obedience to God's commandments is "for our good."

Abuse Of Grace

The Bible tells of some who abuse God's grace, using it as license for disobedience. "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 4). On the other hand, we can know those who belong to Christ by their conduct. "And hereby do we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (I John 2:3,4).

The Biblical view of grace and law is that they are two sides of the same coin. Grace is given to every believer who accepts Christ as their Savior. Law is given to every believer who accepts Christ as their Lord. True Christians must accept Him as both Lord and Savior. If we refuse Him as our Lord, we lose Him as our Savior.

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity [lawlessness]" (Matthew 7:22-23).

The cost of rejecting the Messiah is death. The cost of accepting Him as Savior, but not as Lord, is rejection by Him on the day of judgment. The gift of eternal life is reserved for those who accept Him as both Lord and Savior, obeying His commandments.

The remnant of His people living in the last days are described in the Bible. "And the dragon [Satan] was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 12:17).

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