So while reading a post on a blog that I follow (Club31women.com) I saw something that made me stop and think. It was the phrase, “The free gift of eternal life.” If you are a Christian or someone who knows a Christian, you have no doubt heard this statement once if not several times before. The Christian faith always talks and focuses on the “free” gift of eternal life. Now before everyone gets all upset and starts a riot about “How dare you try to tell people that you have to pay for your salvation,” or “You’re clearly not a real Christian or you wouldn’t say that.” Listen first to what I have to say. I am NOT saying that salvation is something that can be bought or earned. I am NOT saying that salvation isn’t offered to anyone and everyone that chooses to accept Christ as Savior and King. I AM saying that it isn’t free. If it were free we would all be saved because everyone loves free stuff. Look around…we are not all saved. We live in a sinful and fallen world. We live daily struggling to focus on God and shun the devil. Even the most devout Christians fall sometimes. This place we live in really demonstrates that salvation isn’t free. Now lets talk about why.
The key reason is simple. Eternal life costs…well, your life. When you choose to accept salvation you choose to give up your sinful life and selfish desires to follow God. You chose to say no to the devil and no to what you may want. The death penalty was paid! However, eternal life isn’t something that you just say, “Yes I accept Jesus as my Savior” and then you can do whatever you want because you are “covered.” Accepting salvation means striving daily to follow God. It means that when you screw up it is okay as long as you repent and keep trying. It means that you might not get to see that movie, or go to that place, or do that thing because you have chosen to live your life for God. Free means you have to do nothing. And yes I understand where the statement comes from because you don’t have to do anything for salvation to be offered. You don’t have to earn it, or be a good person, or do x, y or z to be eligible for Salvation. ANYONE can have it because the offer is free to everyone. However, once you have accepted that offer you are choosing to say I give up my sinfulness to follow God. I give up my selfish desires to be more like Christ. The offer is free but eternal life isn’t. You have to be willing to change how you live your life. Just because someone says, “I accept Jesus” that doesn’t make them a Christian, that doesn’t make them saved. They are saved when they demonstrate they want to live for God and change their heart to reflect what they have said. When they take what they say and turn it into action. Salvation isn’t lip service, it is actual service.