THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PAYING A PRICE
To pay a price is to put aside everything that is apart from God in order to receive the second part of God’s salvation. We must forsake everything that is outside of God, including our self, flesh, natural being, disposition, family, religion, wealth, reputation, position, and future. The totality of all these things that we need to forsake is the “all…possessions” mentioned by the Lord in Luke 14:33 and the “all things” mentioned by the apostle in Philippians 3:8. The Lord said that we need to forsake all our possessions to follow Him, and the apostle said that we need to suffer the loss of all things to gain Christ. We must do this because God in Christ intends to work Himself into us so that we may be united and mingled with Him. We need to forsake, to put aside, everything apart from God, regardless of whether those things are good or bad, in the past or in the future.
Thus, the price we must pay has many aspects, such as the price required in Matthew 5—7, 13, and 24—25, the price in Philippians 3, and the price in Revelation 3:18. In addition, there is also the price related to reward and punishment (1 Cor. 3:8, 14-15; 9:18, 24-25; Heb. 10:35). All these prices involve one principle—the price that we must pay is the loss of everything outside of God. We must put aside everything that is not in agreement with God and that opposes God, replaces God, and is a substitute for God. Otherwise, we do not allow God the adequate opportunity and sufficient ground to freely work Himself into us. As a result, we will not experience God richly.
Do not think that it is too much that the Lord told us to forsake everything. Also do not think that to abandon all things, as the apostle said, is too difficult. The Lord and the apostle said this because in order to experience and obtain God, we must forsake all that is other than God, that is, we must abandon all things. This is not merely a condition, it is a necessity. If we live by ourselves, God cannot be in us as our life. If we rely on numerous persons, things, and matters and do not commit ourselves wholly to God, He cannot be everything within us. If our families, husbands or wives, and children are sweeter to us than God, then God cannot be everything within us. If our education, fame, position, and future are more lovable to us than God, then God cannot be our inner enjoyment and constituent.
Suppose that although we believe in God, we live by things that are outside of God, and these things are everything to us. Although there is no question that we are eternally saved, God’s intention to work in us, to the extent that we are completely mingled with Him as one, is absolutely impossible and unattainable. When we live this way, not only have we not fulfilled what is required of us, but also God’s intention cannot be attained in us. We have not paid the price, and paying the price is the requirement for God to work Himself into us and be mingled with us.
Some may say that in speaking about paying a price we despise the effectiveness of the Lord’s salvation. Those who say this do not realize that what they say is not according to the truth. The part of salvation concerning forgiveness of sins and the receiving of eternal life can be obtained by faith alone. However, if we want God to come into us and be mingled with us, so that He can operate in us both the willing and the working (Phil. 2:13) and enable us to live Christ (1:21a)—always allowing Christ to be magnified in our body (v. 20b)—then we must pay a price. We cannot arrive at this stage merely by faith. We cannot find a verse in the entire Bible telling us that we can obtain this result merely by faith. Paul said explicitly that since God operates in us both the willing and the working, we must obey with fear and trembling (2:12). He also said that if we desire to live Christ, we must not care for whether we live or die. Not only so, if we want to gain Christ and know Him and the power of His resurrection, we need to suffer the loss of all things and count them as refuse (3:8-10). Is this not the paying of a price? The second part of God’s salvation requires us to pay a price. This is both a requirement and a fact.
(How to Be Useful to the Lord, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)