What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus? Does it demand things of us?
The Bible clearly teaches that it costs nothing to have your sins forgiven. Jesus paid it all. He took all the punishment as he hung on the cross. The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Forgiveness, regeneration, justification — these are free gifts from God through Christ. But the idea of following Jesus without there being a cost in doing so is completely alien to biblical teaching. The New Testament church would have considered such a concept as nonsense. So would Christ-followers in places like Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, or Iran.
This podcast speaks about the meaning of discipleship — the reality of being a Christ-follower.
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A big thanks to Ben Witherington for noting that Wired Magazine has a report from Kansas State concerning how popular each of The Seven Deadly Sins are in various areas of the United States. Click the link and see where your area rates.
Initially, I was pleased to discover that our area ranks as almost “saintly” in the areas of envy, lust, and pride. I say initially, because I thought to myself, “If we’re saintly when it comes to those things, how bad off might other places be.” That thought is disturbing, because I don’t know that we’re truly saintly at all.
Comparison in such things often leads to the pitfall of thinking we’re okay because others are worse than us. Such is the case in an article in the Las Vegas Sun which states, “Turns out Nevada is unremarkable when compared with other states.” I read that as the writer saying, “Hey — maybe Sin City isn’t so sinful after all.” In one sense she could be right: We’re all sinful. In another sense, she could be making the same mistake many others make: “If God compares me to others, then, when it comes to heaven, I’m in like Flint!”
God doesn’t compare us to others. As I read the Bible, I see that he compares us to perfection. That would seem meanhearted, but knowing that all of us fall short of perfection, God’s sent his Son, Jesus, to pay the price for our failure. In dying on the cross, Jesus died for those Seven Deadly Sins — and any others you and I can think of. As we turn from our sin and place our faith in him we find ourselves forgiven by him, made new, and able to live a different kind of life — one that’s a bit more saintly than it would have been without Christ.