"Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.Luke 14:27(NASB)
God in the Person of Jesus Christ came to earth and was born into His own creation so that all who believe in His finished work on Calvary's cross, for the forgiveness of sin might be forgiven - and have eternal life.
The Father's offer of salvation is open to whosoever will come as a free gift of grace.. But discipleship, sets out some very rigorous requirements.. for when it comes to true discipleship the Lord Jesus is more concerned with quality of character and a heart that is focused on Him.. rather than quantity in numbers. Salvation means coming to Christ's cross for forgiveness of sin and life everlasting, which is open to all. But discipleship means carrying ones own cross and dying to self as we progress through our Christian life.. in submission to the Holy Spirit.
Many are called to come unto Him and find rest for their soul.. and many respond and are saved by grace through faith.. but only a few are chosen to follow in the difficult and painful path of discipleship. Many come to Him for the salvation of their soul but few come after Him in meekness of spirit. Few are prepared to take up their own cross and follow Him in humble obedience to His word and willing submission to His will.
Redemption requires us to believe on the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and by grace through faith in Him we are born from above.. but that is only the starting point. Christ also wants faithful disciples.. who are humble of heart and who will give up all for His names sake - and so He seeks men and women who are willing to pay a price, by taking up their cross and following Him no matter what it cost. And so we read: Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
Christ was made sin for us and our salvation depended on Christ identifying with our sin. However discipleship means that day by day we are to be identified with Christ's suffering. We are to be identified with Christ in the likeness of His death.
The older Paul became the more he longed to know Christ in an increasingly intimate and personal way. He not only longed to know Him in the power of His resurrection but also to share with Him in His sufferings - and to be continuously transformed by His death.
May we like Paul desire with our whole being to be a living sacrifice, where we die to self and live for Christ - so that we may become true disciples, who willingly and obediently take up our cross and follow Him.
Heavenly Father, Thank You that I am saved by grace through faith in Christ's finished work on Calvary - but Lord I want to be Your disciple and to take up my own cross daily and follow You in humble obedience. I pray that I may willingly submit to Your will in every area of my life and to share in Christ's sufferings, so that I may be continuously transformed by His death into the likeness of Christ, to Your praise and glory. This I pray in Jesus name, AMEN.