And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Lk. 9.23)
Without further ado:
Nowadays we can become or live as Christians in the most pleasant way and without ever risking the slightest possibility of offence. All we have to do is start with the status quo and observe good virtues (good-better-best). We can continue to make ourselves comfortable by scraping together the world’s goods, as long as we stir into the pot what is Christian as a seasoning, an ingredient that almost serves to refine our enjoyment of life. This kind of Christianity is but a religious variation of the world’s unbelief, a movement without budging from the spot. That is to say, it is a simulated motion.
Whenever I think of the insipid, sweet, syrupy concept of the Saviour, the kind of Saviour Christendom adores and offers for sale, reading his own words about himself has a strange effect: “I have come to set afire,” come to produce a split which can tear the most holy bonds, the bonds God himself has sanctified, the bonds between father and son, wife and husband, parents and children.
We could at least be truthful before God and admit our weakness instead of reducing the requirement.
Of every word Christ spoke pointing toward the cost and suffering of being a Christian, we say this: This does not apply to us; this was spoken expressly to the disciples. We make good, however, of every word of consolation, of every promise; whether Christ spoke to the apostles or not makes no difference.