Romans 6:23: “For the wage of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We have all seen the ads and heard the commercials that seem too good to be true:
- “A limited time offer…buy one, get one free!”
- “A free gift to the first 100 callers!”
- “Act now and save!”
- “Call now, and we will throw in free shipping!”
They all fall into a category that our parents would warn us against when they said, “there is no such thing as a free lunch!”
And yet, that’s what the Gospel is all about. It’s not about us doing anything to deserve God’s Love. Which is good, because we can’t. It’s about God loving us in spite of ourselves. His Grace is a free gift of infinite worth.
Follow along with me as I share this illustration:
Suppose the Cleveland Cavs were in the NBA finals. (that idea made people laugh prior to us doing it in 2016!) The series is tied 3-3. It’s game number 7…Cleveland has home court. After a long sad journey of Cleveland never being the champs, this promises to be the game of all games. The prospect of us being the champs. Everyone is eager to watch the game, and to celebrate!
Now suppose that I go down and buy every seat. I have the rights to every ticket. I invite you….and everyone else to join me for the game. My treat! You could never afford it, but it’s free for you. I tell you that I want you there…that I cannot imagine watching the game without you being there. This is the greatest gift for all fans to enjoy! I tell you to just show up at the ticket window and say my name.
Now, the sad truth is that…I am sure that there would be empty seats:
- Some will say, “I don’t believe you would do that for me.”
- Others will say, “He’s a pastor, he can not afford to do that.”
- Others will say, “No thanks, I’m too busy.”
- Or, “I don’t like basketball…I’m going to a soccer game instead.”
And the excuses would go on and on. About now…you are wondering where I am going with this devotion. I think this illustration helps us to better understand the truth of the Gospel.
Jesus purchased you a ticket (not to a Cavs game, but) to eternal life in His heavenly Kingdom. It’s free…just say His name to get in. Greatest gift of all time! Forgiveness…eternal life.
- Some will say, “He would not do that for me…He does not Love me.”
- Others will say, “He can not afford to do that…He did not die for me.”
- Others will say, “I’m too busy”…”I don’t believe what the Bible says”…”I like being my own God.”
And so, sadly, there will be those who miss this greatest event ever!
William Barclay has written about a group of soldiers during World War II who had lost a friend in battle and wanted to give their fallen comrade a decent burial. So, they found a church with a graveyard behind it, surrounded by a white fence. They found the parish priest and asked if their friend could be buried there in the church graveyard.
“Was he Catholic?” the priest inquired.
“No”, he wasn’t, answered the soldiers.
“I’m sorry, then,” said the priest. “Our graveyard is reserved for members of the holy church. But you can bury your friend outside the fence. I will see that the gravesite is cared for.”
“Thank you, Father,” said the soldiers, and they proceeded to bury their friend just outside the graveyard on the other side of the fence.
When the war had finally ended, before the soldiers returned home, they decided to visit the gravesite of their friend. They remembered the location of the church—and the grave, just outside the fence. They searched for it but couldn’t find it. Finally, they went to the priest to inquire as to its location.
“Sir, we cannot find our friend’s grave,” said the soldiers to the priest.
“Well,” answered the priest. “After you buried your fallen friend, it just didn’t seem right to me that he should be buried there, outside the fence.”
“So, you moved his grave?” asked the soldiers.
“No,” said the priest. “I moved the fence.”
That is exactly what God has done for us. We don’t deserve a place “inside the fence.” We don’t deserve to go to heaven when we die. But God has graciously moved the fence. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us so that we could be included in his forever family.
Romans 5:1-2: “Now we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith.”
HUMOR FOR THE DAY:
I went to Walmart today, and I was there for literally 5 minutes. When I came out there was a state trooper writing a parking ticket for being in a handicap spot.
So I went up to him and said, “Come on, buddy, how about giving a guy a break?”
He ignored me and continued writing the ticket. So I called him a pencil-necked cop. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for worn tires!
So I then asked him if his psychiatrist makes him lie face down on the couch cause he’s so ugly.
He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket!
This went on until he had placed 5 tickets on the windshield…the more I insulted him, the more tickets he wrote. I didn’t care. My car was parked around the corner.