In a recent conversation, someone was reminiscing about their baptism and remembered that at the time they thought they had counted the cost but in the years that followed realized they hadn’t known what that cost was going to involve. Most of us have gone through difficult times within the Church and faced situations and decisions that we could never have anticipated at the time we were baptized.
Counting the cost is a principle stated by Christ during His ministry. “For which of you , intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it …” (Luke 14:28). Christ was not negligent in making clear the difficulties involved in living a godly life in a godless world. “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14). Counting the cost in preparation for baptism is not limited to the known details of our life at that time. There are no clauses in our covenant contract with God that provides an “out” if things get tougher than what we expected at baptism. Once committed, there is no looking back. “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
In counting the cost, we need to appreciate the seriousness of the commitment we are engaged in making. Baptism is a covenant that we make with God and the permanency of that covenant is written by the blood of Christ. Christ’s blood buys our life and it is no longer our own. It is a life-time commitment, no matter what unexpected events may develop.
Counting the cost involves how you view your life. “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate (to love less by comparison) his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26-27). God must come first, above all else. At baptism the self is crucified in the sense that as Christ died, so the carnal self dies and a new life begins. That life is Spirit driven and lives unto God – bought by the blood of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:20). God did not make known to us prior to baptism all the twists and turns that living godly would throw at us. He didn’t have to. We committed our lives to Him unconditionally.
by Brian Orchard