I have been a life long Southern Baptist, and have heard my whole life about how simple and easy Salvation is. A decision, a quick prayer and the deed is done. You get dunked later on and you get to eat the cracker and drink grape juice from a little thimble looking cup. It’s easy and simple, yet as I look at the words of Jesus, I see some things that scare me, some things that make me think we are doing things the wrong way.
In Luke 9, Jesus shares the cost of being a follower, He said that “no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (vs 62). Jesus told us the road to Salvation is narrow, few find it. That only 1 in 4 seeds bear fruit. In Luke 9:23-25 Jesus tells us to be a disciple, we must take up our cross and follow, losing life to gain it. This seems like it’s not as easy as we have tried to pretend it is. Jesus shared with His disciples that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven. We live in one of the richest nations on earth. Jesus tells us that Salvation isn’t easy.
We have also seemed to miss the requirement of the word we use so frequently. We say “make Jesus your Lord”, but we don’t tell people to make Him Lord. We say “confess Him as Lord”, and act like it means if we just say “oh ya, He’s Lord” but don’t make Him Lord it’s ok. Lord means boss, chief, master, ruler, guy in charge. It means we give up anything, everything, we change our lives, our actions. Sure, it happens gradually as sanctification happens, but it happens. We don’t see it happening in scripture someday or eventually. Fishermen left nets, tax collectors came out of trees and gave stuff away, Gentiles spoke in tongues and lives demonstrated the power of God’s transformation. It didn’t take months and years, transformation started immediately.
Now of course there are plenty who figure out how to fake it for a while. Many said the right words, but Jesus was never Lord. 1 John 2:19 talks about those who were with us but not of us because the walked away. They walked away to show who they really were. How many of our weekend prayer reciters walk away? I will admit that I have led many in prayer and never saw them again. Maybe they moved or found another church, or maybe they went out to show who they are.
It gets even more complicated because Jesus said that not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” gets into Heaven. If they said Lord, isn’t that confessing Jesus as Lord? Isn’t that our prerequisite? Jesus said that saying it doesn’t equate to doing it. Even worse, these people did some stuff after confessing. The preached (prophesied) and did ministry (cast out demons) in the name of Christ. They talked to people about God and stood up in front of people and did ministry, these were not Sunday-go-to-meeting people, these were leaders. They are pastors, elders, deacons and they will spend eternity in hell. Why? Because they don’t know Jesus as Lord, they only know Him as guy they do stuff for. Sure, they can get excited and yell and scream, but so can a Muslim. They blow themselves up for their God, doesn’t mean it’s true.
Jesus tells us it’s hard, the road is hard, the gate is narrow, few find it. The soil is often hard or rocky or full of thorns, and it’s really hard for rich people to get too. On top of that, if you won’t give up everything, don’t even bother. If you are gonna look back, just stay home. This doesn’t sound like what I hear on a Sunday Morning. Jesus said if you are gonna be a disciple, you should count the cost. Shouldn’t we be honest with people, tell them the cost, or are we trying to sell them a used car? Just a thought.