I have been enjoying reading slowly through Romans as a Bible study the last few weeks. I read a chapter and then study it for the next few days. One of my favorite chapters so far is chapter five. (I am only up to chapter five so I am sure there will be other favorites and I really loved 1-4 so...)
The thing that struck me is the amount of times Paul refers to salvation as a gift or a free gift at the end of the chapter. Verse 15 he says, "so also is the free gift...and the gift by grace..." And in verse 16 he says, "...so is the gift:...but the free gift..." And in 17, "...much more they which receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one..." And 18, "...the free gift came upon all men..." I think maybe Paul is trying to tell us something. I was thinking about how wonderful it was and how much I take the fact that my salvation cost me nothing for granted. What an amazing thought. I definitely don't deserve to go to Heaven. Yet, there is nothing that I can do to make up for what I have already done. My Sunday School lesson was on something else on Sunday, but during the lesson the teacher said that it is as if in stead of meeting us half way, or making us go all the way, it is as if God came all the way to us, stuck His hand out, and said, "Here is salvation's gift, take it!" Free!!! No strings attached. Of course, once we become saved and realize what God has done for us, we want to do thing for God. We desire to serve Him and grow.
I thought for a long time about why the world has a hard time accepting something so simple and free. It reminded me of something my dad said, and probably many of your dads and grandfathers and even mothers and grandmothers and teachers have said!! "Megan, nothing in life is free." We have been taught that. It has been drilled into our being. We have to work for everything we get in this world. Nothing is free. And we can take it further to, if it is free there is something wrong with it or there is a catch! How many times do I get junk mail that says, "You have won a new computer!!" And in small print it says, "participation required" In other words...IT'S NOT FREE!! And then here we are, Christians, telling people about God, about Jesus' gift to the world and saying...IT'S FREE!! There is nothing you can do to earn it. The only requirement is that you take it. Believe it! People have been asking for centuries, "what's the catch." It's the reason there are so many works based religions. Even many people that believe the Bible believe that you have to do something to gain or keep salvation. But here Paul says over and over it is a free gift, it is a gift. It is abundant grace that God gives us.
Grace is getting something you don't deserve. I don't deserve salvation. I don't deserve justification. I don't deserve Heaven. Yet, Christ coming to earth, dying in my place, and rising from the dead pays my debt. All I had to do was bow down and accept Christ's gift to me. Believe that He did what He said He did. That's it. There is no catch. No "participation required" line. No small print.
If you haven't accepted this gift, what is holding you back. Admit it, if someone really said you had won a computer and mailed it to you. Said, "There is no catch, it's yours!" You would take it!! (I would take it if you don't!!!) Why do we hold back on something so much greater. Eventually the computer will break, or become outdated...but Salvation is forever. You can never lose it. It will never need to be updated. It will never break. It is a free gift that insures our lives. Gives us peace, hope and a relationship with Jesus Christ! Saves us from eternity in Hell. It is an amazing gift.