To be born again, you must first die. The missionary can try to fix that up with whip cream and cherries and chocolate chips, but it will always be a bitter truth to those not fed up with their current life. If you love this current world, you will be offended by the cross. To be clear, you will be offended by anyone telling you that you have to sacrifice your life on the cross. Most people will say Christ sacrificing His life on the cross was a beautiful act of love, but when they are asked to take up their own cross to follow Him, they are offended. They know that taking up their own cross means they will have to stop fornicating and living lustfully, stop getting drunk, stop cheating and lying, stop hating their brothers and sisters. In other words, stop living in sin. I know some people will be offended at even reading this. They are offended because their stony hearts have not yet been broken by the love demonstrated from GOD through Christ. The scripture says in 1st John 2:15-16,
“15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
The refusal to surrender your life testifies to the fact that you do not yet love and trust GOD. That is verse 15 of the scripture cited above. You are still doing life your way, instead of putting your life in His hands. This is the reality that I had to face when I was resisting the cross. I had to come to terms with the reality that I was unwilling to surrender the things which were giving me pleasure and making me feel secure, for a chance at receiving the promise of something better in obedience to GOD. To even seriously ponder this proposition, you must know the feeling of a soul starting to buckle from weightiness of life in this world. To make that swap, you have to be convinced of two things; that Yeshua is GOD, and that He really does love you. If you are missing either of these elements in your belief toward GOD, its guaranteed that you have not taken up the cross and totally surrendered your life to GOD. Hebrews 11: 6 states,
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Those who do not believe the Almighty Creator of all things, in the face of Yeshua the Christ, think they have more options than what are truly available. No greater love has ever been shown greater than the testimony of GOD’s love through the witness of Christ, and until you truly know that, you will always hold on to your self-life. I or know other person, can convince someone to surrender their life to GOD. That point in a person’s existence is orchestrated by GOD, where they will know who it is that is posing the question, “Will you trust me with your life?” Those that have accepted the offer from GOD and want so badly for others to have the same benefits, can only share His love as best they can, and testify to the benefits and terms of the amazing opportunity.
The message of GOD’s Salvation can’t be shared like a bad car salesman trying to get a contract signed by concealing all the cost. Christ new His target market,
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)
When the rescue beacon of GOD’s voice finally reached my stony heart, it was shattered at the awareness of how I had dishonored and disrespected Him, and how I had rejected His love in counting Him unworthy of my trust, and at the depth of my injustice at refusing to suffer, in the face of the enormous cost that this salvation was being made offered. All of that, and He continued to pursue me, understanding that He alone had what my heart truly longed for and needed. In light of this, my self-life was wrecked into splinters, like a shipped washed into a mountain side by humungous waves. From that day forward, I have been compelled to surrender all.
The Gospel of Christ doesn’t need augmenting for the 21st century, or for any period in time. The cost of Salvation will always be same, His life in exchange for your death. The proselyte can be of good cheer, because resurrection life is real, and it is far more satisfying!