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Luke 14:26  (King James Version)

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Topical Studies
<< Luke 14:25   Luke 14:27 >>

Luke 14:26-27

At the beginning of our conversion, usually during counseling for baptism, we are asked to consider this passage seriously. Verses 26-27 are particularly important because loyalty to Christ is the issue in this context. Jesus makes it plain that, after entering into the New Covenant, our highest loyalty is to Him.

This is extremely important because the character of every life is determined by the loyalty that rules it. Peter confirms Jesus' words in Acts 5:29, saying, "We ought to obey God rather than men." He made this affirmation following Jesus' crucifixion. Persecution was imminent against the fledging church. However, we must understand that the world is always a threat against our loyalty to Christ. Life is a mixture of choices and compulsions, and many of our values have their source in the world. These values exert an ever-present pressure to conform to them, thus we must be aware.

The pressure to make moral choices is the furnace in which character is forged. Our compulsions to make choices come in two varieties: 1) forced, as by a gun to our temple that demands, "Do this or else," and 2) unforced, the pressure of old habits, perspectives, and attitudes engraved in our character, hangovers from our past. Thus, the past and the present both push at us to choose. What we choose determines where our loyalties lie and thus whether we commit idolatry. If we are not thinking carefully, idolatry is an easy sin to fall into.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The First Commandment

Luke 14:26

At the beginning of our conversion, usually during counseling for baptism, we are asked to consider Luke 14:26-33 seriously. Verse 26 is particularly important because loyalty to Christ is the issue in this context. Loyalty to any other person or thing at the expense of loyalty to Christ constitutes idolatry.

This is extremely important because the character of every life is determined by the loyalty which rules it. If one's loyalty is to the wrong source—the wrong government, body of beliefs, laws, people, or religion, regardless of whether the person is ignorant of his idolatry, sincere, and has a clear conscience—his character will be shaped accordingly. It will not be in the image of Christ and will not be acceptable in the Family of God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The First Commandment (1997)

Related Topics: Idolatry

Luke 14:26

Undertaking discipleship involves the entirety of a person's life - all the time, everywhere. It is the issue in the Bible: whether we will show by our lives that we are loyal to the Kingdom of God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Revelation 2-3 and Works

Luke 14:25-33

Our salvation hinges on a lifetime of repentance from dead works and overcoming in faith. Thus, we are counseled before baptism to be sure we have counted the cost before we take on the awesome opportunity of eternal life. Once we take hold of the plow, we cannot turn back.

Martin G. Collins
Basic Doctrines: Repentance

Luke 14:26

The word "hate" is not an absolute term but a relative one. He is establishing a comparison: "You have to love Me more than mother, father, wife, children, brother, sister." We have to put Christ first; we have to love Him more than the others. Recall what He said to Peter after His resurrection. What was the first question? "Do you love [agape] Me more than these?" Who were the "these"? It was very likely the other disciples who were with Him. "Do you love Me more than your friends?"

What Christ said to Peter He is also saying to us! The standard is exactly the same. Though we may not have the responsibility of feeding the sheep, Christ must still be our first concern in life, and God expects us not only to be concerned, but to love Him with deep, family affection.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Loving Christ and Revelation 2:1-7

Luke 14:26-27

Before baptizing anybody, the ministry almost invariably urges the person to "count the cost" of giving his life to Christ. While counseling the candidate, the minister expounds Luke 14:26-27.

The cross we bear may be any potentially long-lasting trial that persistently affects our liberty to submit to God. However, very often at the base of this chronic resistance to submission is our desperately wicked heart with its deeply engrained baggage of proud, self-centered, anti-God habits of thinking and conduct. Despite our being baptized and having God's Spirit, pride remains a fellow traveler, stirring resistance to the knowledge of God. Satan's pride separated him from the Creator, and if permitted, it has the power to separate us from Him as well.

Without really stopping to evaluate why, we are proud about what God describes as nothingness, vanity, a vapor. Pride resists the sovereign Almighty God and greatly hinders us from fulfilling our responsibility to submit.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Living By Faith and Human Pride

Luke 14:25-27

That which costs nothing is not worth anything. When King David needed to build an altar to the Lord, he would not accept the free gift of the threshing floor because it cost him nothing (II Samuel 24:21-25). To David, a sacrifice was worthless if it cost the offerer nothing. The discipleship to which Christ calls us means a life of surrender to God's will and sacrifice for His cause. If we count the cost of a full submission to Christ's claim on us, we also must count on His grace and help to become one with Him. His disciples do not make the journey to His Kingdom for free—it costs them their lives.

The costliness of commitment to God's will is seen in the example of Jesus. He requires nothing of us that He Himself has not done. Christ lived with the humiliation and agony that often accompanies living according to the will of God. Both the Father and the Son counted the cost before proceeding with their plan for the salvation of humanity. In being sent into the world, Jesus knew ahead of time what it would take to accomplish the divine goal. He left His Father's house to build His church so that the gates of Hades could never prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).

Martin G. Collins
Parables of Counting the Cost

Luke 14:26-33

Jesus draws attention to the disciple's closest relatives, those a person would normally expect would be those most likely to give comfort and aid in a time of need. Yet, in this case, the irritants were differences regarding deeply held religious beliefs and practices. To many of the new converts, the realities of the pains to which the church was exposed came “home” in an uncomfortable way. Their unconverted family members sincerely believed that the Judaism they practiced, delivered to the Jews through the great Moses, was the only true, God-given religion on earth.

Many new converts' unconverted family members did not graciously accept the unexpected changes that had entered their relationship, and they reacted emotionally. The converts soon found themselves living with enemies in their households. As one can imagine, these family persecutions were quite personal. The converts, caught in divided families, may not have been treated violently, but they were considered traitors to what all the other family members believed the Temple, priesthood, and sacrificing stood for.

This reaction happened because the Jewish religion was, in reality, spiritually corrupt and almost thoroughly anti-God. Had not the Jewish religious leadership just proved that by sending God in the flesh to an agonizing death because they failed to recognize God when they saw and heard Him? The anti-God attitude that the Jewish religious leadership tapped into and stirred against Jesus as He was tried before Pilate was more widespread and deeper than it may have seemed on the surface. Animosity toward the converts spread quickly through the communities of Judea.

It was not long before the Jews excluded the converts from any activities that involved the revered Temple. Though most of the converts may not have had to endure violent persecution at the hands of someone like Saul, they did endure emotional persecutions within their own families—it must have felt as if they were living in an alien world. The personal, emotional cost to those in this situation may have been quite high.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Four)

Luke 14:25-27

Is being a disciple of Christ free to us? These verses say that we have to give up everything! That is not cheap! Moreover, He mentions this in the context of things that are normally the most dear to us of all—our flesh-and-blood relatives! There is no greater price a human being can pay than to give up his family, and yes, his own life! That is not cheap! That is not free!

Grace is the most costly thing that has ever been given. It was costly in terms of the life of the very Creator—the God who made everything! And in return, to receive that grace, He demands that we give up our lives. It is not cheap. It is not free.

Then, how can people say it is free? Christ could not have made the cost of our obligation any clearer than He does here. No relationship ties are stronger than blood ties. The saying, "Blood is thicker than water," originated in the Church of England, meaning that blood ties are stronger than the Holy Spirit, symbolized by the water. The English Church recognized that family ties would pull people away from the truth of God. They are that powerful! Grace is not free, not cheap, by any stretch of the imagination!

Jesus then tells us that, in addition, we have to humbly bear any burden that comes upon us as a result of our discipleship, as a result of having received such forgiveness. Sometimes that cost can be very great. His statement is sweeping in terms of its consequences.

Free does not mean "cheap" but that God freely gave it. He was under no constraint. There was no obligation on His part to do what He did. He owes us absolutely nothing for what we have done. Grace is an aspect of His love that has no motive but itself. "God so loved the world that He gave. . ." (John 3:16).

Looking at history, is there anything lovable about mankind? Look at what humanity has done to this earth! Look at what men have done to one another! In the name of "God," men have blown one another to smithereens! If someone did to our property and to our family as we have treated God's property and family, we would have a terribly difficult time extending love. In fact, we might be totally unable to do it! We lack love of that depth. But God freely gives grace, though He is under no obligation whatsoever.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Titus 2:11-14

Luke 14:26-27

A reason that a minister goes over these verses with a person seeking baptism is to affirm this very point. He must count the cost: to forsake all he has to bear his cross.

Baptism is a public declaration that we accept the blood of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and have decided to be absolutely loyal to Him. Everything else is to be secondary; we have renounced our will, and everything we have is subordinate to His will. Will we be loyal in every situation as Jesus was, or will we be loyal only in the good times? If He chooses to send or allow poverty or sickness or even death, will we say with Abraham, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25). Doing this will not be without struggle. We are, after all, human, and even Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane struggled with this before saying, "Your will be done."

Besides Jesus, a number of men met this crisis and, as far as we can see, passed it with flying colors. Notice Eli's reply to God's sentence against him and his sons in I Samuel 3:18: "It is the LORD. Let Him do what seems good to Him." Like most of us, Eli was a mixture of strengths and weaknesses. His latter lay in failing to restrain the excesses of his sons. When God pronounces His sentence, though Eli was likely in anguish, he does not justify himself or murmur of unfairness. He accepts it without reservation.

Eli certainly felt terribly for his sons, even though they were undoubtedly a great disappointment to him. Cut off by God's judgment, they were utterly unprepared for death. There seems no possibility they died in what we would call "in the Lord." It must have been a difficult burden for Eli to accept this shocking news.

Leviticus 10:1-7 reveals another example of a godly man humbly accepting God's shocking sentence. God strikes two of Aaron's sons to death, and at Moses' counsel, Aaron holds his peace. He counsels Aaron and his remaining sons to accept God's judgment before the people lest they bring reproach upon God—as though He were guilty of wrongdoing.

God praises Job highly, saying that no one on earth was like him, "a blameless and upright man" (Job 1:8). Surely, he has every right to expect God to bless him continually throughout his life. God indeed prospers him until he is the richest man in his area. Suddenly, however, devastating disasters obscure his bright future. In one day, Sabeans and Chaldeans raid his ranches and take everything, lightning destroys his crops, and a tornado kills his ten children! What is Job's response? "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD" (verse 21).

Job looks beyond these devastating events—truly mind-numbing realities—that could never have occurred without God's permission. Beyond them he sees the Creator, whose rule extends over all peoples and things—some of which He had allowed to devastate Job's life. Job clearly recognizes God's sovereignty, even managing to rejoice somewhat in it. No wonder God says no one on earth was like him!

Once we give ourselves over to Him in baptism, recognizing God's sovereignty causes us to subject our plans to His will. It makes us recognize that, as the Potter, He has absolute power over the clay, molding it according to His pleasure (James 4:13-15).

Overall, it is for Him to say where we live and in what condition: whether in poverty or wealth, sickness or health, cut down in the flower of youth or living three score and ten. To learn this lesson is to attain very high marks in God's school. Accepting His will in all things and in the right attitude is among the most difficult of all lessons in life. It is one that, when we think we have a handle on it, something comes up, and we discover we have to learn all over again!

On the other hand, unwillingness to accept God's will in all things produces in us a resistance to obey accompanied by complaining. If this resistance to accepting what God has dealt to us were not there, we would have no reason to complain. Murmuring and disobedience go together, and murmuring is sin.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sovereignty and Its Fruit: Part Ten

Related Topics: Baptism | God's Sovereignty

Luke 14:26

Hate in Luke 14:26 means "love less by comparison." If our love for our parents interferes with worshipping and obeying God properly, we do not genuinely love Him. Matthew 10:37 shows that Christ refers to those who place their father or mother above God in obedience and reverence; this is idolatry. The time may come when it is no longer necessary or right for us to obey our parents. Even so, we should never cease to honor them. Honor indicates a high respect for their worth, high esteem, and reverence. Without this, we cannot properly revere God. Just as our parents corrected us, so also God corrects us. As a result we honor and respect our parents, which is a shadow of our subjection to the Father.

Martin G. Collins
The Fifth Commandment

Luke 14:25-33

Self-renunciation is an indispensable condition of following Christ, required for accurately counting the true cost of allegiance to Him. This condition of full and selfless service to God demands our hearts and minds, not just our bodies. In Luke 14:25-33, two parables and an exhortation urge us to forsake all that we have as a mandatory condition to becoming Christ's disciples. One main lesson is emphasized in these scriptures: the nature and influence of true discipleship.

Three times (verses 26, 27, 33) the commanding assertion is "cannot be My disciple." One who faithfully follows Christ must be prepared to hate—or more accurately, "love less"—his father, mother, wife, and children, as well as his own life. Loyalty to Jesus Christ and God the Father must be above even the highest loyalties of earthly love, that is, all our love of self must be subordinate to our love for God, who must be first in our life.

Martin G. Collins
Parables of Counting the Cost

Luke 14:25-27

Jesus demands submission to Him above everything else in life, including the self. If we think that is not costly, we need to think again! Discipleship can cost a person his relationship with the family he was born into, his livelihood, and even at times his life. At issue is how much we value the life our Savior gave to pay for our sins, as well as the gifts of forgiveness and eternal life. Is our treasure in heaven, or are our hearts still bound to earth and its ways?

John W. Ritenbaugh
Leadership and Covenants (Part Three)

Luke 14:25-30

In the warnings of possible costs in Luke 9:57-62; 14:25-30, He says we must expect the loss of the respect and association with those we feel the most affection for, family members. They are not going to appreciate the changes we have made in our lives. They are yet blinded because God has not removed the veil covering their spiritual perceptions. This happens to many of us. It occurred in my relationship with my parents.

Jesus warns that our lives may become seriously unstable, as outsiders might judge it. He suggests that the convert may become somewhat itinerant, seeming to have an unsettled existence. He also suggests that following Him would put demands on our lives and time that might cut close family members to the quick, perhaps even turning them into enemies. Christ makes plain that, despite God's well-known mercy, He wants our wholehearted, unreserved loyalty with no yearning ever to turn back to our former lives. It is in meeting challenges like these that the potential costs become realities.

Though not mentioned directly here, Hebrews 11 reminds us of those who were tortured by mocking and scourging, by imprisonment, by stoning, and even by being sawn in two. Others were forced to flee for their lives, wandering destitute and tormented, barely able to clothe themselves. This may not happen to many of us now, but as matters intensify, Jesus warns that people will eventually kill Christians, thinking that they are glorifying God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Awesome Cost of Love

Luke 14:26

Faithfulness hinges upon what we value as important combined with commitment. Humans have a powerful tendency to be faithful to what they think is truly important, be it a family name, spouse, friendship, employer, school, athletic team, or even certain things like a make of automobile.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness

Luke 14:25-33

Christ could not have made our obligation any clearer, yet after receiving forgiveness, so many are forgetful and blasé about this responsibility! Family ties are the strongest of bonds, but our loyalty to Christ must supersede them. Beyond that, we must have the humble devotion to bear any burden He deems necessary for our good, the corporate good, or as a witness as part of this way. From our perspective, we can hardly deem God's gift to be free!

John W. Ritenbaugh
Five Teachings of Grace

Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Luke 14:26:

Leviticus 1:9
Ecclesiastes 7:15-22
Ecclesiastes 8:2
Song of Solomon 3:1-5
Jeremiah 17:9
Matthew 5:6
Matthew 6:24
Matthew 10:34-39
Matthew 10:37
Luke 9:57-62
Luke 14:20
Luke 14:25-30
Luke 14:25-33
Luke 14:26
Luke 14:26
Luke 14:26-27
Philippians 3:7-8
Hebrews 8:6
Hebrews 8:6
Hebrews 10:38
Hebrews 11:8
Hebrews 12:9
Revelation 6:9


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