Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Cost of Belief

UV 2735/10000 The Cost of Belief
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake
Philippians 1 v 29

Believers in Christ should not only enjoy the benefits or multitude of blessings of such faith but be prepared to pay the cost of belief- suffering. Jesus said, “"But don't begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?” We are building a temple for the Lord with our lives. We need to know how much it will cost us and be prepared to pay it. Many believers right through the centuries from the first century of the Lord’s coming have suffered the cost of being put to death. We need not be surprised that believers in Jesus continue to be the most persecuted world-wide and through the ages though they are gentle and aim for resurrection, not insurrection.
No one is greater than their leader. When our leader Jesus Himself suffered all types of “costs”- shame, pain, agony, loneliness, betrayal, desertion, death, we too are liable to suffer. Only when we are partakers of His suffering, can we also partake in His glory- the resurrection from the dead, to be seated at the right hand of the throne of the Father, to dwell in the mansion built by the Father forever, to receive the crown of righteousness that never fades. When the mother of two disciples asked Jesus if her two sons would be seated next to Him, He asked if they are prepared to drink the cup of suffering that He was soon to drink from. This perspective does not however mean that we invite suffering or that we do nothing to alleviate or pre-empt suffering but it means a willing submission to suffering that is inevitable and God-willed or allowed. The willingness to suffer for one’s belief in Jesus is often the test of the genuineness of our faith and it is also of immense evidentiary or testimonial value to touch the hearts and lives of others who hear of our attitude and response when subjected to suffering.
The difference between the Old covenant believers and the new covenant believers are that the latter do not complain about their suffering for the cause of their faith while the former complained, grumbled, murmured, rebelled in the wilderness about their suffering in the wilderness. The difference between the stoic or the philosophical and the new covenant believer are that the stoic do not complain about earthly hardship or suffering, face it with equanimity while the believer in Jesus accept it both willingly and gladly. The vision of heaven that Stephen received at the time of his being stoned to death by a crowd, that included a man who was soon to be St Paul, filled him with an inexplicable hope and joy. It is hope that fills us with joy and not the other way round as the world sees it that joy fills us with hope.

Prateep V Philip

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