In this world there is a cost for everything. Whether it be money or time or relationships, your choices in what you want or need in life cost you. It costs you to forgive someone for the way they have wronged you. You have to give up the desire for revenge or the need for them to “pay” for the harm they have done. It costs to buy food, go on trips, eat certain foods. You know what I’m talkng about, right?
Well, it cost Jesus everything to reconcile you and I to God. John 3:16 says, For God so love the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. This is the only FREE gift we’ve been given. Some of us might have a hard time thinking that this is actually free. We live in a society where surely everything costs and so we must do something to get this Love and Salvation God has given but the truth is you don’t pay one thing for it. Jesus paid it all.
What exactly did it cost? In Jesus’ final hours he was abandoned and seperated from His father for the very first time in all eternity. He cried out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” At the cross Jesus took on all the sins of the world and suffered God’s wrath. Check out Isaiah 53:5-6. Although Jesus lived a perfect sinless life, all of mankinds sins were put upon Him and He experienced all of our guilt, shame and transgressions. It also cost Jesus pain. He was beaten, mocked and humiliated as He was forced to carry his cross through the streets upon his shoulders. The very cross He was nailed to by His hands and feet, dying an excrutiating death.
Through this sacrifice God has offered you free forgiveness of your sins. Your debt was paid in full but that forgiveness did not come cheap. Jesus gave his life, suffered the agony and shame of the cross as the bearer of the sins of the world!
So, the question at hand is, does it cost you anything to follow Jesus? In America, atleast my experience has been, that it doesn’t cost a whole lot. Maybe it costs you pride or perhaps even a changing of friend groups, perhaps laying down your deep seeded sin patterns, but for the most part it really isn’t “costly”.
Here in Slovenia, it costs much more. In a country where only 1% of the population is christian, following Jesus is not widely known or accepted. I’ve heard story and story again about the cost of recieving this free gift of salvation from Jesus. Yes, they have the same struggles with pride and even of accepting a free gift. I think its hard for any of us to recieve something we haven’t earned but here in this culture I’ve heard that this free exchange without a cost is not the norm. You must work hard to get what you have and if given something you repay the giver, thats the respectful thing to do.
But what has most struck me is the stories of what it cost the young people to follow Jesus. For some, it has cost them their family and even their homes. Because following Jesus is not widely accepted, it is even looked at as perhaps a cult. Parents and family members have responded with claims of betrayal by the new believer. Questioning why they have done this to the family, even being met with a cold silence and family not even looking at them anymore. One story I heard was a young person being told to pack their things and move out. It cost them their love and acceptance by their parents and their dwelling.
It’s true the cost is high! but as the Slovene people receive Grace from God they understand the truth that the COST is worth it. Jesus is better. Abiding in the Vine is worth it. As Jesus grabs a hold of them, they cling TIGHTLY and they see know other way but to look toward Him. I believe that their resolve will build a country founded and rooted in Christ.
What is the cost for you? Are you abiding in the vine? Have you found that clinging tightly to Christ is worth the cost for you? If not, why not? I challenge you to read John 15. Consider what it is to ABIDE IN THE VINE and join me in praying for those who WILL believe. There is coming a time when every knee will bow and every tongue confess and I’m believing that is true for this sweet country of Slovenia!