"No pain, no gain"
"Nothing is really free"
These are two sayings that are quite common. Who would have thought that they apply to Christianity?
So often, we are told that being a Christian is free. We must realize that it is not.
Being justified and regenerated and sanctified costs much.
Now, justification and regeneration are free to us. It is God who has paid for these. It is Jesus Christ who gave up heaven for about 33 years to live, work, suffer, and die on this earth. It is Jesus that died on a cross and said "It is finished"! The Holy Spirit has been our Helper since Jesus Christ rose from the dead and joined His Father in heaven.
We've done nothing but have faith and yet we are justified and regenerated.
So, where is the cost for us?
In Luke 14:25-33, Jesus tells anyone who would come to Him, to count the cost.
I think we feel the cost most when it comes to sanctification.
It is in sanctification that we are putting off our sinful self and putting on the holiness of Christ.
The cost is trouble, time, thought, care, pain, reading, praying, self-denial, conflict, working, labor.... The cost is being devoted to the teaching of God. The cost is understanding this teaching so well that it becomes a part of who we are. We are literally after gaining the mind of Christ. With such a mind, we will be applying these truths to our lives.
There is always something we'd like to be doing, but there is so much more that we ought to be doing.
Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve....
So, we've seen the cost. What about the pay?
The pay or reward for genuine Christianity is that you will never be destroyed. The life you live now will continue on forever. You get to leave this earth and continue your life in the literal presence of God.
J.C. Ryle puts it this way:
"It may cost much to be a true Christian and a consistent holy man; but it pays."