Is Salvation Really Free?
"All need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ." (Romans 3:24 NCV)
If you were to ask 100 people on the sidewalk, "How do you get to Heaven?" you'd get a lot of different answers that could be summarized by the idea that you have to earn your way to Heaven. You'd hear things like, "Try to be good and do your best" or "Work really hard at being a moral person" or "Do more good things in life than you do bad things." All of these ideas are based on works, not grace.
But salvation is a gift, and you don't work for a gift. It's free! You can't earn it, you can't buy it, and you can't work for it.
This is the fundamental difference between Christianity and every other religion. Christianity is the only religion that's built on grace. Every other religion is based on works, and you can summarize them in one word: "do." There are certain things you have do in order to gain God's approval, to gain bliss, to gain heaven. There are always rules, regulations, and rituals - something you have to do.
On the other hand, if you were to summarize Christianity in one word, it's the word "done." Jesus Christ has already paid the price for you on the cross. It's done!
A guy asked me one time, "Pastor Rick, what can I do to be saved?" I said, "You're too late!" (That kind of shocked him.) "You're about 2,000 years too late! What needed to be done for your salvation has already been done, and you can't do anything about it."
Jesus Christ already did it. He paid for your salvation on the cross, and it's now a free gift to you. That's why when he was hanging on the cross, he said, "It is finished." He didn't say, "I am finished," because he wasn't. He's still alive today. The "it" is your salvation. The plan to provide grace for every person is finished.
Romans 3:24 says, "All need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ" (NCV).
You won't get to Heaven based on what you do. You get to Heaven based on what has already been done for you by Jesus Christ.
When you really understand grace, you will accept it, because it is the greatest gift you're ever going to be offered.
Talk It Over
- Why do you think it's so hard for people to accept a free gift? Why would they rather work for it?
- What do you think God expects you to do after you've accepted his gift of salvation?
- What effect has the freedom of salvation had on your life?