I have a line in my first novel where the heroine (Ariana Forsythe), speaking very softly but earnestly, tells the hero (Phillip Mornay) this:
You can choose at any moment to put your trust in Christ.
One of my goals when I wrote the book was to demonstrate that crossing over from the life apart from Christ, to one of living with and for Him, was not something out of anyone's reach. In other words, I wanted to show that becoming a Christian was a very real option for WHOSOEVER WILL.
There are times when it is appropriate to warn others to count the cost of discipleship, to remember that the just shall live by faith, not sight, and that this a challenge. Counting the cost was not the message I wanted to share, at least not in that book. And not because I don't deem it as important (it is, of course, equally valid) but because my emphasis was to encourage anyone--whosoever will--that Jesus welcomes sinners to his fold. Period.
For the most part, I am happy with that emphasis.
But if we look into the "meat" of the gospel, not the early, sweet milk for newborn believers, we do find a deeper calling, for it is God's intention to love us so well that we offer Him everything: our whole heart and lives. We must eventually offer Him all that we are, which, I believe, is NOT something we can merely choose at any moment to give, but must be overwhelmed by His majesty, love, and power, that we do it out of love and obedience and gratitude.
These do not come, usually, upon the whim of the moment. Contemplation, Bible reading, and experiencing the love of the Saviour in our day-to-day lives, however, do and must result in such submission in the life of a believer.
Call it what you will: sanctification, growth, counting the cost and paying it willingly, (as He has paid our way so that we can even CONSIDER giving back the little we call our own); by any name, it is discipleship, it takes determination and discipline and frequent "reality checks"--remembering that we owe all to Him.
Perhaps I'll even be privileged to approach these themes in another book someday.
My Full Life Bible says this, in the commentary: (which started my thoughts today)
"The preaching of repentance must always accompany the gospel message." And, "The definition of saving faith as mere 'trust' in Christ as Saviour is wholly inadequate in the light of Christ's demand for repentance. To define saving faith in a way which does not necessarily involve a radical break with sin is to dangerously distort the Biblical view of redemption."
There is an undeniable difference in emphasis between sending out the invitations to the wedding feast to any passerby; and warning the virgins to fill their lamps with enough oil for the bridegroom when he comes. This is a tension-filled double-edged part of the gospel. It is available as a free gift for anyone and everyone; and yet the way is narrow and many there be that miss the way, choosing to take the broad road instead, despite the cries of Wisdom, calling out to those in the street.
May you (and I) heed the voice of Wisdom when she calls to us, today.