Many have taken the Christian faith to be a simple and easy matter, and have even numbered it among the virtues. This is because they have not really experienced it, nor have they tested the great strength of faith. ~ Martin Luther
I read this last night in Justo Gonzalez’ The Story of Christianity. Though I’m only gaining a skeletal understanding of church history thus far, I have repeatedly observed that contemporary issues—aren’t. At least not exclusively. Doesn’t Luther sound like he could be a 20th or 21st century Christian complaining about the peddling of a “soft gospel,” frustrated that any true believer would advertise following Christ as the easiest thing in the world? I’m not sure exactly what he was addressing when he made this comment, but apparently he wouldn’t have been too excited about quickie conversions and neglect of discipleship either.
The gospel is simple. But following Christ requires work and is often anything but easy. He would know this more intimately than I, but I’m with Luther on this one.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24
…work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12