Christianity, A Costly Calling

Matthew 10:34-36, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be of his own household.”

This statement is truer than we realise. Jesus is not talking about heavenly peace, for He came to give us peace (reconciliation) with God (Romans 5:1, 10-11; 2 Corinthians 5:17-19). Here, He is talking of worldly peace. Jesus did not come to bring world peace, contrary to popular belief. As King, He came to inaugurate the rule and reign of God in Him. As Priest, He came to sacrifice His body and blood as the final atonement for all. As Prophet—which is my focus here—He came to proclaim God’s Word. This proclamation (and indeed, His reign and sacrifice) is what we Christians are called to confess. Christianity, therefore, is a costly calling, for Jesus testifies of the world that its works are evil (John 7:7). The world hates Him, so it is only natural that the world hates His people too. Even our own family.

As a Christian—especially as a future pastor—I have lost friends and family because of their aversion for Christ. Jesus is our Lord—our friend is not, nor our family member. When you confess Jesus to be Lord, you are placing yourself under His jurisdiction. You are saying, “I place myself under His authority. Therefore, I will believe and do what He says.” If you deny this, Jesus is not your Lord. Something else is. If He says, “Do not steal,” and you say, “No, I don’t believe You; I’m going to live as a thief,” He is not really your Lord. He is not your Lord when you approve and endorse promiscuity, homosexuality, transgenderism, murder, adultery, and so on, even if a beloved friend or family member lives such lifestyles.

Some of our friends and family may hate us and reject us because they hate and reject Jesus. If they hate Him and reject Him, what reason do they have to love us and accept us unless we renounce His proclamation and subjugate to their sins and their lord? My own sister hates me and rejects me because I lovingly told her I cannot accept her homosexuality and transgenderism in the name of Christ. It was a painful loss, for I love my sister, but Jesus Christ is my Lord and I love Him more, for He is grace and truth (John 1:17).

The Christian calling is costly, for it will cost us friends and family who hate Him—we will gain new enemies. (Indeed, it may cost us our very lives.) It is costly because Christ’s sacrifice for our sins was costly (see Bonhoeffer on costly grace). However, we have Christ our greatest treasure for eternal life in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-21).

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