Not Everyone Thinks Free Salvation is Good News
by Michael J. Penfold
Surprisingly, the realisation that personal salvation through Jesus Christ is totally free, doesn’t come as genuinely ‘good news’ to most people.
Take the world’s atheists and secularists, for example. They aren’t at all impressed by ‘free salvation’. They don’t believe in it, nor are they interested. Even if they did feel the need for some kind of ‘salvation’, they definitely wouldn’t want the salvation on offer from the crucified 1st Century carpenter from Nazareth. Buddhism or mindfulness would be far more acceptable options to their way of thinking.
What about religious folk? Is free salvation good news to them? You might be surprised.
Imagine you’re out for a meal with a friend. The time comes to settle the bill. You’ve brought your credit cards just in case, but before you get the chance to offer to pay, your friend says “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it”. Great news! A free meal – what could be better? You receive a free gift at someone else’s expense. All you have to do is accept it. Sounds a bit like salvation, right? No. A thousand times no. What if your friend hadn’t offered to pay? Far from being caught short or embarrassed, you would have immediately whipped out your card and settled the bill yourself, and left a tip.
How different to biblical salvation from sin. On the one hand yes, it’s undoubtedly good news that the Bible says people don’t have to pay to be saved. But on the other, salvation’s freeness is very bad news to religious people because the Bible also makes clear that no one is actually able to pay for salvation, even if they want to. It’s not just that you don’t have to pay; you can’t. Due to your bankruptcy in sin, you’re neither able nor allowed to contribute anything. Suppose your restaurant companion had said to you “Don’t worry, I know you’re bankrupt. I’ll pay”, would you have thought that was good news? No, you would have been mortally offended and deeply insulted. So, ultimately we’re back to Paul’s assessment in his epistle to the Corinthians: free salvation through “Christ crucified” is foolishness to secular folk, and a stumbling block to the religious.
Which is why the only people who will genuinely rejoice in the good news that salvation is free are sinners who know 1. They are broke, and 2. They aren’t able or allowed to do anything about it. The fact is, sinners can no more do something about their guilt and condemnation before God than bankrupt people can pay their way out of debt. God only gives free salvation to people who know, own and acknowledge, that they have “nothing to pay”. Water is good news to the thirsty. A medical remedy is good news to the sick. Free salvation is good news to bankrupt sinners, and bankrupt sinners only.
Not that there was no cost to salvation at all. The purchase of salvation came at the supreme cost of the sinless life of Jesus Christ laid down in sacrifice on the cross outside Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. His death was a ransom payment enough to fully meet and satisfy the righteous claims of God against sin. In light of the complete and perfect sacrifice of Christ on the cross, any offer by a sinner to pay for or contribute to his or her own salvation is an offence to God. If you could have paid for salvation by works of your own, He never would have sent His Son to die for you. But now that Christ has come and given Himself a “ransom for all”, free salvation is truly the best news of all. Drink it in! Take God at His word and receive salvation on His terms today.
Bible verses about free salvation:
Romans 3:22-25 “…there is no difference, for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood.”
Rom 6:23: “The wages of sin are death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not by works, lest any man should boast.”
Luke 7:42: “And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both.”
1 Timothy 2:5-6: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all.”
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.”