Q. Have you ever done a study on Luke 14:33 and the surrounding text when Jesus was describing what it would take to be a true disciple? Was he talking only to the crowd in front of him or is it applicable today? Is he really asking us to give up everything or rather be willing to give up everything?
A. The Lord’s instructions in Luke 14:25-35 are for the entire Church age. It’s a detailed explanation of what Paul later summarized in Romans 12: 1-2:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
It’s important to remember that the issue here is not salvation, which is free for the asking. It’s what we do in response to the salvation we’ve received that both Jesus and Paul were explaining.
It’s currently popular in the Church to distinguish between mere believers and true followers of Christ. To be saved we must only believe. But then in gratitude for such a remarkable display of God’s mercy, we should be willing to present our whole beings to be used for His glory. After all Jesus ransomed us from death with His own blood. Our life actually belongs to Him (1 Cor 6:19-20).
In Luke 14:33 Jesus explained that we shouldn’t take our commitment to Him lightly because what we’re doing is abandoning all of our worldly dreams and aspirations in order to serve Him as He desires. This doesn’t means we’re choosing a life of deprivation, since the Lord has promised to bless us abundantly (John 10:10). But as long as we’re in the world the temptation to return to it will always be with us, no matter how much we’ve been blessed in service to Him.