That the Lord governs His spiritual brethren (the Body of Christ) by His governmental rules is proclaimed in the Scriptures. Isaiah 9:6 foretells that a time would come when He would have the (God’s) government on His shoulder. In 2 Peter 2:1,2,15 we find the apostle warning false prophets and those who follow them that they have forsaken the right way, thereby proving that they despise God’s government. In God’s kingdom it’s all about government. Government is all about the Law. The Bible is God’s Law in writing. In 2 Peter 2 the apostle compares those who, having come to know God’s way then abandon it to a sow that, having been cleansed, returns to her mire and a healed dog to its vomit (vss 10-22). Jesus calls such church people “workers of iniquity” (Lawlessness) whom He will reject on the Day of Judgment (Mat. 7:23).
God governs those who are His by His Law. To reject any part of His Law, for example commandment #4, is to reject the entire Law, making one iniquitous–a Law breaker (Jam. 2:10-12). According to the Lord, the only cure for rebellion against His Lordship is true repentance. Repentance must be proven. This can be done only by obedience to His Word,/Law/gospel (Mat. 3:8). In Mark 1:14,15 Law breakers are commanded to repent and believe the gospel.” Repent of what? Sin–the transgression of the Law (1 Jn. 3:4), which is the instrument of God’s governance, which if rebelled against in part or in whole (Jam. 2:10-12) results in the death of the rebel (Rom. 6:23/Mat.7:23). God’s people are doers of the Word/Law/gospel and not merely hearers (Jam. 1:22) because faith (hearing) without works (obedience) is dead and cannot save (Jam. 2:14,17).
The Institutional Christian has an inborn problem when it comes to repentance for sin. In 1 John 3:4 God defines sin as the breaking His Law: “To transgress the Law is sin; for sin is the transgression of the Law.” How can one break a Law that Jesus Himself supposedly nailed to His cross? When one is surrounded by those who have rejected God’s Law it is difficult to confess that it is still in effect and must be obeyed in order to qualify for eternal life. And when one’s family and friends believe that they are already saved, the task becomes even more arduous. For this and other reasons the true God-seeker is told to “count the cost” of obedience to God. Few, Jesus said, are willing to pay the price of true discipleship (Mat. 7:13,14). A cursory look at selected passages tells one what one must do in order to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. One must realize that he is in rebellion against God (1 Jn. 3:4), confess his sins (1 Jn. 1:4), repent of his sins (Acts 3:19,26), recognize Christ as Lord (Master) and exhibit Godly sorrow, thereby clearing himself of all sin. He then becomes adamant against, indignant toward and zealous in his fight against sin as he purges him (2 Cor. 7:9-11/Heb. 9:14). He cleanses his spiritual heart, purifies his spiritual hands, afflicts himself (fasts), mourns over his past sins and is in heaviness, weeping over them. He does not judge the Law, but rather obeys it (Jam. 4:7-11). Only the most “violent” among us will fight Satan and defeat him (Mat. 11:12). This warfare is spiritual hand-to-hand combat that most people are not willing to undertake.
It is obvious why Jesus said that only a few people would, after counting the cost, choose to embrace him and reject the world and its religion, including what is known as Christianity. Among the few who choose to go to war against Satan and his followers, only a few will fight until the end so as to be saved (Mat. 10:22). The cost is simply too much for those who care about social and familial acceptance. One soon finds that family and friends are the first to turn against him when he turns against their god. L.J.