Bids him come and die

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. I came to divide a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a bride against her mother-in-law. [Ones] hostile [to] the man [shall be] those of his [own] house. The [one] loving father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And the [one] loving son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. The [one] finding his life shall lose it. And the [one] losing his life on account of Me shall find it. The [one] receiving you receives Me, and the [one] receiving Me receives Him who sent Me” (Matthew 10:34-40; underlining mine).

This is NOT an endorsement of Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a true (regenerate) disciple of Jesus Christ, but he said (echoed) something quite true, sober, and joyous:

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die” (Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship).

Many of Jesus Christ’s true disciples have had the sword of gospel-truth deftly and deeply driven between them and those of their own house.  Jesus came to divide with the doctrine of salvation conditioned SOLELY on His atoning blood and imputed righteousness (along with its necessary implications).  One implication of believing the gospel of Jesus Christ is that those who truly believe God’s gospel will take up their cross and die, and thus will NOT cringe or cower before the familial face of compromise. For to cringe and cower in this context is to love the familial face more than the face of Jesus Christ.

“Because [it is] God who said, Out of darkness Light shall shine, who shone in our hearts to [give the] brightness of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

“Only behave yourself worthily of the gospel of Christ, so that whether coming and seeing you or being absent, I hear the things concerning you, that you stand fast in one spirit and one soul, striving together in the faith of the gospel, and not being terrified in anything by those who oppose, which to them truly is a proof of destruction, but to you of salvation, and this from God; because it was granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer on His behalf, having the same struggle which you saw in me and now hear [to be] in me” (Philippians 1:27-30).

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to [the] elect sojourners of [the] dispersion of Pontus, of Galatia, of Cappadocia, of Asia, and of Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of [the] Spirit to obedience and sprinkling of [the] blood of Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you. Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, He according to His great mercy having regenerated us to a living hope through [the] resurrection of Jesus Christ from [the] dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, having been kept in Heaven for you [the ones] in [the] power of God being guarded through faith to a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time; in which you exult; yet a little [while], if need be, grieving in manifold trials, so that the proving of your faith, much more precious than perishing gold, but having been proved through fire, may be found to praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ; whom having not seen, you love; in whom not yet seeing, but believing, you exult with joy unspeakable and being glorified, obtaining the end of your faith, the salvation of [your] souls” (1 Peter 1:1-9).

For our lost family members we may have unceasing sorrow, pain, or anguish (cf. Romans 9:1-2).  At the same time (and in a different respect) we are COMMANDED to “rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).  It seems that there is a possible mixture of sorrow and rejoicing.  Emotions can be complex but sometimes (perhaps?) while we are rejoicing in our salvation wrought by our Triune God, there is a “subterranean stream of sorrow” flowing steadily beneath that joy (or other various complex or complicated mixtures of emotions). Here is one such mixture of anguish or affliction and joy of the Holy Spirit in the same persons:

“And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, welcoming the Word in much affliction with joy of [the] Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:6).

Affliction and Holy Spirit-wrought joy.

“And great crowds came together to Him. And turning, He said to them, If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers and sisters, and besides, even his [own] life, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:25-27).

“And everyone who left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for the sake of My name, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life” (Matthew 19:29).

“And if children, also heirs; truly heirs of God, and joint-heirs of Christ, if indeed we suffer together, that we may also be glorified together. For I calculate that the sufferings of the present time [are] not worthy [to compare to] the coming glory to be revealed in us” (Romans 8:17-18).

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