(J.C. Ryle, “The Cost!“)
“Any of you who does not give up everything he has, cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:33
What does it cost to be a Christian?
I grant freely that it costs little to be a mere outward Christian. A man has only got to attend a place of worship twice on Sunday, and to be tolerably moral during the week — and he has gone as far as thousands around him ever go in religion. All this is cheap and easy work — it entails no self-denial or self-sacrifice. If this is saving Christianity and will take us to Heaven when we die — we must alter the description of the way of life, and write, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to Heaven!”
But it does cost something to be a real Christian, according to the standard of the Bible. There are . . .
enemies to be overcome,
battles to be fought,
sacrifices to be made,
an Egypt to be forsaken,
a wilderness to be passed through,
a cross to be carried,
a race to be run.
Conversion is not putting a man in a soft armchair, and taking him pleasantly to Heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it costs much to win the victory. Hence arises the unspeakable importance of “counting the cost.”
True Christianity will cost a man . . .
his love of ease, and
the favor of the world.
A religion which costs nothing — is worth nothing!
A cheap, easy Christianity, without a cross — will prove in the end a useless Christianity, without a crown!