If we will not carry the cross — we shall never wear the crown!
"Then Jesus said to His disciples: If anyone would come after Me — he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me!" Matthew 16:24
Salvation is undoubtedly all of grace. It is offered freely in the Gospel to the chief of sinners — without money and without price. But all who receive this great salvation, must prove the reality of their faith — by carrying their cross after Christ. They must not think to enter Heaven without trouble, pain, suffering, and conflict on earth. They must be content to take up . . .
the cross of DOCTRINE — holding a faith which the world despises; and
the cross of PRACTICE — the cross of living a life which the world ridicules as too strict, and righteous over much.
They must be willing . . .
to crucify the flesh,
to mortify the deeds of the body,
to fight daily with the devil,
to come out from the world, and
to lose their lives, if needful, for Christ's sake.
These are hard sayings, but they admit of no evasion. The words of our Lord are plain and unmistakable. If we will not carry the cross — we shall never wear the crown!
"Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Me, cannot be My disciple!" Luke 14:27