I was in class today, talking about Justification. Our professor was describing a key moment in his life, an ‘Oh my goodness’ moment (I’m paraphrasing here – his language was much better). Anyway, he said that at that moment, he knew the gospel to be true and that he knew it would cost him everything. At those last words, I was struck. Is not the gospel that I believe, that I learn, that I preach… does it not cost me everything? Will it not cost me everything?
I heard those words as crystal clear as I have heard anything in my life. I know that the gospel should cost me something – no, everything. But I have not given everything up. I have not allowed the gospel to grasp me, for God to grasp me in such a way that every action, every thought is laid bare, captive to God’s design. I have not sold everything as it were, to purchase the plot of land that I found that great treasure on.
What then does this mean? It is troubling. And no comforting word will do, not at this time. It is not enough to hear the words “God loves you” it is not enough to hear “God is at work, even now, to bring about something special in your life” because at some point, as James points out “faith without works is dead” and one thing Jesus talks about is clear, participation in the Kingdom of God is active participation, there are no passive observers and there are no participants who have higher callings, other things to do – they don’t end up at the banquet feast for the bridegroom.
I think it is high time that I revisited Detrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship. I think it is high time that I allowed the gospel, allowed God to cost me something. No, I believe it is high time that I allowed God to cost me everything…