I may have made a post on this before. The above statement is true, but it is also one that has different angles to it. For instance, the Bible teaches us that salvation is a gift from God. It doesn't cost us anything. God freely gives it to us, and we can't even work for it at all. In fact, if we did try to do some work to help pay for it, it would be an insult to God. Why would it be an insult to God? Because He did the work for our salvation that only He could do and we could not do. We cannot work for our salvation. We cannot do any work to add to the finished work of Christ on the Cross for our salvation, nor is there any work we need to do to keep the gift of salvation that we have received from the Lord, if we have received it. So why is there a struggle with this concept or how can we look at it from another angle? It is kind of like looking at America as being a free country. Is America a free country? We all know that it is, well at least up to this point it has been. But does that mean that Americans are totally free? Does it mean that American citizens can do what they want in living out their freedom? I think you understand now where this is going. Yes, America is a free nation. But was it free for everyone involved? The answer is 'no'. Two hundred plus years ago, people fought hard to bring about the freedom we have in our country today. No, Americans today are not free to do whatever they want. There are still boundaries that they have to live inside of. The point is this; We have freedom today. Many people paid a large price so that Americans would have freedom. It cost somebody, and it was expensive to them. They probably never enjoyed the freedom that was accomplished because they may have lost their lives in doing so. Freedom always costs somebody something.
I hear people boast that salvation is a free gift. What do they mean? Well, they could mean the same thing that a man told me a couple of years ago. I gave a tract to man before I went into the store. When I came out, he was reading it. I went over to talk to him about what he was reading. As I started talking, an older man came by. He informed that the salvation was a free gift. He was very emphatic about it. I didn't know what his point was, so I informed him that it wasn't free for One person. He continued on. He informed me that you can do anything you want as a Christian and still go to heaven. I explained to him that you have to repent first and trust in Jesus. He then accused me of believing in salvation by works. The conversation went on and on. Back and forth we went on this. Finally, we ended on a note where he made his final decision about me being a Jehovah's Witness. Does this man really understand that salvation is a free gift? Does he understand that one needs to receive this gift in order to have it? Yes, salvation is a free gift to us. The crux of the matter is how it is received. Is it received by our doing good works? Not at all. Is repentance a good work? It is a work of God in our hearts, but we don't do our own repenting. We do turn from living sinful, selfish lives to living out our lives for God's glory. Even repentance is a gift from God that has to be granted to us. It is the flip side of the coin. On the other side is faith. Just because repentance and faith are tangible, doesn't mean that they are good works. Yes, we have to have both in order to be saved. Salvation is a gift from God. The result of salvation is God's workings in our hearts. We are saved to do good works. That is how God is glorified in our lives. It is God who does the good works in us.
So, is salvation then a free gift? It is for us. It wasn't for God's Son. He earned salvation for us, and He gives it to us upon repentance and trust in Him. Salvation is the free gift that will cost you everything you have though. Now you might be wondering what that is all about. Does it cost anything to get pregnant? The obvious answer is 'no'. What happens though when the baby grows up and becomes a teenager or young adult? What will it cost the parents then? It costs an arm and a leg. College, weddings, housing, food, school, and many other things will cost you because of your child. But we love our children and gladly do that for them. In a similar way, when we come to Christ, we are born into God's family. God adopts us as His own. We have a new love in our hearts. We are learning to live a new life in a new way. It costs us. And it will continue to cost us. We give up time, money and possessions, not just for the sake of saying that we gave them up. "Look at me. Look at what I gave." No, when we really understand salvation, we will want to give. We have new hearts. We have thankful hearts.
Salvation is free to us. It is a gift. We have to receive it though. Jesus paid for the gift. He bought it for us. It is free to us in the sense that we can't do a thing to atone for our sins. But now it will cost us our lives because we belong to God. We are not our own anymore. "And he said to them all, If any one will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:23-24). "And every one that has forsaken houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life." (Matthew 19:29)
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
Here is a really neat tool for evangelism that looks promising. If you have an I-Phone, go to I-Tunes app store and look for GM 28 app put out by Living Waters. Watch the video and you can get a feel for how it works. There are a few different languages available and the Gospel is preached in those languages. For example, if you want to present the Gospel in Spanish, you can select Spanish language and select the option for preaching the Gospel mode you desire. I imagine if you have speakers, you could even make it louder. This would be good if you have a table set up with tracts on it. The nice thing about this tool is that you can help people who don't speak English to hear the Gospel. I know that in our area there are a lot of Spanish speaking people. This would be one way for them to hear the Good News. And you don't have to know a lot about the Spanish language, although that would always be helpful. Some of the languages available are Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish Castillian, Spanish Neutral and Turkish. Have fun with this app and use it to help fulfill the Great Commission.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Every time I hear a particular song, I have a memory that goes with it. The song is called, "Here I am to Worship". It reminds me of a time when our family went to the beach a couple of years ago. My son and I came up with a new hobby while at the beach; writing in the sand. One time he wrote the 10 Commandments in the sand at the beach. Every time I wrote something, it took up so much room. I don't remember what exactly I wrote most of the time, but I know it was related to the Gospel. There is a part to the song, "Here I am to Worship" that goes like this; "I'll never know how much it costs to see my sin upon that Cross." I wrote that in the sand while we were on this particular beach trip. Late one afternoon, there was no one on the beach because of red tide. Occasionally, some one would stroll through. I believe I was writing this verse of the song during that time, in the sand. A group of people that consisted of what looked like two moms with some children were walking along the beach. They seemed polite and one of the moms was trying to get her child to be careful around my writing. If I remember correctly, as they were going past the words, the mom had the strangest look on her face as if she were thinking, 'Get me out of here!'. We had fun at the beach that time. We also took a bottle and put some tracts in it, and launched it on the water. I left my email address in it, but have not heard from any recipients. God's word will go out with power, whether we see the effect or not. It will not return to Him void.