It doesn’t take a PhD in English Literature to observe that God offers us a gift in salvation. The gift is eternal life, which is directly connected to His Son.
Now let’s be clear and cautious. Becoming a member of a church is not the way to salvation—just believing in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Neither does God require a long list of heavy-duty accomplishments. Nor vast sums of money. God is coming to the rescue of those who are lost by offering the free gift of eternal life to those who will simply believe. Those who do may know they have been rescued.
“But it seems too easy,” you say. “Something as vital as eternal salvation seems far more valuable than that.” Don’t misunderstand. It is valuable...the most priceless possession one can have. But because we don’t have to work for it or pay for it does not mean it’s cheap or that nobody paid a handsome price. Someone did. His name? Jesus. Perhaps you already forgot that this gift of salvation is directly connected to God’s Son, Christ Himself. Because He paid the full price, because He opened the way for us, we are able to take it as a gift.
It’s funny, but most of us are suspicious of free gifts. “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” is more than a line out of a comedian’s script. We have too much skepticism (or pride) to believe, we can get something for nothing. So it’s understandable that we’d be reluctant to accept a gift as important as eternal salvation if it has the appearance of a “free lunch,” right?
In all honesty, to say that God’s rescue offer costs nobody anything is misleading. It costs us nothing today, but it cost His Son’s life. That’s the part we forget about.
When sin first reared its ugly head on earth, the holy God of heaven could no longer enjoy a close relationship with the human race. And the longer mankind practiced his or her wicked ways, the wider the gap grew between man and God. This sin disease, contracted at birth and inescapably contagious, spread like wildfire from one generation to the next. With sin came death, as this verse of Scripture declares:
When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. His sin spread death throughout all the world, so everything began to grow old and die, for all sinned. (Romans 5:12 TLB)
Yes, everything. In fact, this universal sin disease impacted every part of our being. Hard as it may be to read these words, please do so:
As the Scriptures say, ‘No one is good—no one in all the world is innocent.’ No one has ever really followed God’s paths, or even truly wanted to. Every one has turned away; all have gone wrong. No one anywhere has kept on doing what is right; not one. (Romans 3:10–18 TLB).
That’s the way we are in God’s sight. Being lost, we are in such a miserable spiritual condition that we have no hope of finding our way to Him on our own. Sin separates us from our Creator. His rightful requirement is that sin must be punished. Someone who is qualified must rescue mankind by satisfying God’s wrath against sin. Someone must pay the awful price, dying as our substitute, taking our place and bearing our sin before God.
Jesus Christ did just that.
Don’t simply believe my words...believe the words from the Bible:
For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us! (2 Corinthians 5:21 TLB)
We aren’t saved from sin’s grasp by knowing the commandments of God, because we can’t and don’t keep them, but God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours—except that ours are sinful—and destroyed sin’s control over us by giving himself as a sacrifice for our sins. (Romans 8:3 TLB)
For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.... And all who trust him—God’s Son—to save them have eternal life; those who don’t believe and obey him shall never see heaven, but the wrath of God remains upon them. (John 3:16, 36 TLB)
Christ also suffered. He died once for the sins of all us guilty sinners, although he himself was innocent of any sin at any time, that he might bring us safely home to God. (1 Peter 3:18 TLB)
Yes, it certainly cost somebody something. I repeat, it cost Jesus Christ His life. But because He paid the price in full on our behalf, we are able to accept God’s offer free and clear of any cost to us. The payment has been made. The ransom has been provided in full.
The only issue that remains is this: Will you accept the gift God offers you today? Now that the remedy for sin has been provided, all that remains is receiving it.
Excerpted from Stress Fractures, copyright © 1990 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.