|"I Know It's Free, But ..."|
Romans 5:15 (NASB)
How many times have we been in conversations where we were attempting to persuade someone regarding the validity of a particular position or belief we held? How many times have we been in positions where our case was demonstrated so well that the other person would really have little choice but to concede? But sometimes, instead of conceding the point, the other person would say, "Yes, but ..."
Too many times this happens when discussing God's gift of salvation through Christ Jesus with others. In our life experiences, it is rare that anyone would give something of value without expecting something in exchange for it. In fact, we are conditioned to look for the ulterior motive when someone gives us something. Hence the phrase, "No one ever receives something for nothing." So when someone comes and says that God provides us with the gift of eternal life, that all we must do to receive it is accept it by faith in Jesus, many times people will say, "Yes, but you must do good deeds to receive the gift." "Yes, but you must put away all sin before coming to Jesus to accept His gift." "Yes, but you must be water baptized or perform some other sacrament(s) in order to secure your salvation." "Yes, but you must allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify your life so that you will be fit for salvation." "Yes, but ..."
In accepting salvation from God through faith in Jesus, we must learn to break away from our common mode of thinking. When God says the gift of salvation is free, He means it. There is no fine print or some other catch. There is nothing we can do to work for it or earn it. The only thing required is that we believe God when He offers eternal life to us freely and accept it. It may be hard to see at first, but the change in life, the good works, come as a result of true faith. For what we sincerely believe usually determines how we conduct our lives.
May the Lord help us all not to fall into the trap of adding to His gospel, thereby making it "a different gospel which is really not another" (Galatians 1:6-7).