The Free Gift That Costs

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Ephesians 4:7

Easter is always a very special time for me because it reminds me of what my life is in Christ and what it would have been had I not accepted His free gift of salvation.    I can’t say that my life has been free of trials and tribulations since receiving His gift of salvation, viagra sale order but what I can tell you with absolute certainty is that He has never left or forsaken me (Hebrews 13:5).  Since that great decision, search He has continually helped, encouraged, and guided me.  I now can’t imagine spending life without Him.   What scares me though, even today,   is what my life would have been like if I had refused His offer of salvation.   What would it have been like to spend endless days after I die outside of His presence?   What would it have been like to be clumped together forever with those who were cold toward God, with those who rejected Him, or even with those who deeply hated Him.  What an eternity!

First of all, the free gift is salvation, and according to Jesus it can only come from Him.   There is no other way to gain salvation accept through Christ, and He alone (Acts 4:10-12; John 14:6).  In receiving His gift my relationship with Him was settled; there was nothing to keep me out of His kingdom and presence forever (John 10:28).

But even though the gift was free, it costs something (2 Peter 3:9).    Amazingly what I had to give in return was not good works, good intentions, or well meaning promises(Ephesians 2:8-9).    What He wanted was the only thing I could give which was the lordship of my own life.  Until I accepted His gift of salvation I was the lord over my own life;   He never was.    And even though I was born in God’s image, I was not born with His lordship.   I was born a sinner, with my own lordship at the helm (Romans 5:12).   Out of this self-lordship came a multitude of sins, some worse than others, some sins others could see, some sins they could not.      So I decided to ask Christ to forgive me of my sins, including the one that made me the lord of my own life.  And when I did, He forgave me and became not only my Lord, but the Lord of my life.  My response was simple when I was young, “Lord forgive me for my sins, be my Lord.”  As I grew older I added more words to my testimony , which were hardly poetic or religious sounding, they went like this:  “I love you Lord;   thank you for dying for my sins;  Lord, forgive me for my sins; I believe in You; I give my whole life to You;  be the Lord of my life.” (1 John 1:9, Romans 10:9)

Jesus expressed His offer of salvation several different ways but it always got down to the same questions: Are you willing to repent of your sins, will you accept My Lordship, and do you believe in Me?  (Mark 1: 14-15; John 6:28)   If you have done this then you are enjoying His salvation.   If you haven’t then what is keeping you?  Pay the cost; it is well worth the buy.

Teachable Moment

It can be a challenge to teach your children about a free gift that costs something, but to teach them about Christ’s gift of salvation and what it cost is important.  For this teachable moment, take your children to an unoccupied home.   Perhaps a realtor friend can help you find one in his listings, or maybe there is a home in your area that is being built, but is not finished yet.   Go to the unoccupied house and ask your children if they would like to live in such a house.   Before they answer, tell them no changes can be made to the house; the way it is now is the way it always will be.   In other words, it will remain empty forever.  There will be no furniture, refrigerator, beds, toys, T.V., or stove.   The house will always just be walls, floors, ceilings, doors, and windows.  Nothing in the house will ever work not the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, gas, or electricity.    Ask them if they would like to live in such a house the rest of their lives.

Then take them back to your home where you have the things that are missing in the empty house.   Ask them again which home they would like to live in the rest of their lives?   Now switch gears and tell them a story (a parable) about a man who lived in a house exactly like the empty one they saw, lacking everything.   Tell them the man lived in that house for a long time, which is surprising because he really didn’t like the house at all.  But he stayed there year after year because he owned the house and it was difficult to think about living anywhere else.  Then one day a realtor came by and made an offer on the man’s house; an offer that was just too good to believe.   The realtor’s proposal was this: if the man would sell him the house and leave it, he could live in his own personal castle overlooking a beautiful nearby lake the rest of his life for free.   Everything he needed would be at his new home, but he had to leave the old house forever.  The man struggled with such a great proposal for his empty house was all he knew and besides he felt comfortable there.   He thought and thought and finally decided to take up the realtor’s offer and turn the deed over to him.    The realtor even went one step further.  After the man sold him the empty house, he came over and picked up the man in his limousine and drove him to the new castle. When the man arrived at his new home by the lake, he couldn’t believe how beautiful everything was, but more than that the realtor became a best friend who continued to help him the rest of his life.

In this story the man represents every man, woman, and child whom God put on this earth.  The empty house represents the self-lordship and sin nature with which we are all born. The realtor represents Christ, and the castle is His home where He wants all of His creation to live under His Lordship.

When the man sold his house, this very act is comparable to repenting, believing, and turning one’s own lordship over to Christ.  The limousine represents Christ’s continuing commitment to seal the deal, for He takes responsibility to get us to His house once we have sold out to Him.    In the castle we live under the Lordship of Christ, under His roof of safety and care.   And what happened to the old house in this story?  The realtor burned it to the ground for it was worthless.   And so it is with your old life. There is no reason to try and return for Christ burned it to the ground.     You may from time to time try and escape from His house, and go back to the old way of living where you were lord of your own life.  However, according to Scripture, there is nothing to go back to because your old self-lordship, along with all your other sins was wiped out at the cross.   You can certainly leave the Lord’s House for awhile, going back to old habits, trying to be the lord of your own life again, but the old house where you did these things on an every day basis is gone.  As you will see, when you stray from the Lord’s house, there is no other place to live, that is unless you want to live outside in the rain or heat.  And if you should want to do this, the Lord will bring you in anyway, even if you can’t seem to on your own.  Once in His house always in His house (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20; Romans 5:5-7; John 10:27-28; Luke 5:36-39).   “Thank you, Jesus!”

God’s Word

Hebrews 13:5    “….He Himself has said, I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you”

 Romans 5: 23            For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Matthew 16: 24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Acts 4:10-12  “…10 Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11 “He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. 12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

John 14:6   Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 10:28   and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

2 Peter 3:9  The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Ephesians 2: 8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Romans 5: 12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.

I John 1 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Romans 10: 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Mark 1: 14-15   14 Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

John 6:28  Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

2 Corinthians 5: 17   Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come.

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Romans 5:5-7   For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.

John 10: 27-29   27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

Luke 5:36-39   36 And He was also telling them a parable: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. 37 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. 38 “But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.  39 “And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’ “