Chapter 10 - Counting the Cost
Before a person becomes a Christian, he needs to consider very carefully if he is willing to pay the price that it takes to live the Christian life. We have found this to be especially true in our work among the Chinese people. In the states, we might be able to teach a new Christian some things after they become a Christian. The Chinese do not have the religious background that westerners have, and therefore they need to fully understand what they are doing.
Every person needs to know that becoming a Christian means entering the Lord’s church, not a denomination; and that becoming a Christian carries with it much responsibility. We know that a person who becomes a Christian and then falls away is worse off than one who never knew the truth.
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the last state is become worse with them than the first. For it were better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered unto them. It has happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog turning to his own vomit again, and the sow that had washed to wallowing in the mire (2 Peter 2:20-22).
And that servant, who knew his lord’s will, and made not ready, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes; but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more (Luke 12:47-48).
Passages That Emphasize Counting the Cost
It would be very helpful for every person who is thinking about becoming a child of God to study passages that urge us to count the cost before making a commitment to God (Matthew 10:32-39; Luke 14:26-33). For people who have counted the cost, we need to encourage them to obey the gospel.
And working together with him we entreat also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain (for he saith, At an acceptable time I hearkened unto thee, And in a day of salvation did I succor thee) (2 Corinthians 6:1-2).
Come now, ye that say, To-day or to-morrow we will go into this city, and spend a year there, and trade, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall both live, and do this or that. But now ye glory in your vauntings: all such glorying is evil. To him therefore that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin (James 4:13-17).
This lesson has been designed to help those who have not yet obeyed the gospel to have a better understanding of what is involved in becoming a child of God and having the hope of heaven (Matthew 7:21-23). It was also presented to help remind those of us who have already obeyed the gospel what we must always remember.
Wherefore I shall be ready always to put you in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and are established in the truth which is with you (2 Peter 1:12). Further, it was presented to help Christians to teach others these basic truths (2 Timothy 2:2).
It is our hope and prayer that every person might be saved and go to heaven.
Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in your virtue knowledge; and in your knowledge self-control; and in your self-control patience; and in your patience godliness; and in your godliness brotherly kindness; and in your brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful unto the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he that lacketh these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins. Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble: for thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-11). He
would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up (2 Peter 3:10).
May God help us to live a faithful Christian life so we might go to heaven (Revelation 2:10; Hebrews 3:14).