“God presented [Christ Jesus] as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in his blood…he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:25 & 26, NIV
“Buy one, get one free!” We’ve all seen ads or promotions that read like this. The word, “free” does get our attention but is anything in this world really free? When we consider this for a moment the question makes perfect sense. American economist, Merton Miller explains, “if you take something out of your left pocket and put it into your right pocket, you are no richer.” Companies take stuff and give it away at their expense. So, what is free to the customer does, in fact, cost the merchant.
Advertising agencies understand the powerful human emotion that is triggered when they see the word free. But, ironically, according to psychological studies, while people like free stuff, “we want to feel like we’ve earned it.” What a conundrum!
Switching gears, I hear so many times from people who share their faith in Jesus Christ, that eternal salvation is free for the asking. Indeed, Scripture does promise this amazing benefit when living in a personal relationship with Jesus. While the promise is true, the Gift to the receiver is only part of the story. The cost of eternal salvation was paid in full on a cross by the blood of Jesus Christ. Like “right pocket, left pocket,” Jesus gave His life for mine and yours. This exchange alone is what completes the story. Through the shedding of and the washing of each individual heart with His blood, those of us who are imperfect are seen as perfect in the eyes of God. Those of us who are unrighteous are known as righteous. Those of us who are unlovable are loved beyond our wildest imaginations.
Now, to address the conundrum: we can’t accept Jesus’ “free” Gift and still “want to feel like we’ve earned it.” No work or act of any kind could ever be enough to cover the cost that has already been paid, or to make us feel better about accepting the gift offered to us by God. Believe it and receive it are our only choices. Friend, there is no better offer on this earth!