Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Salvation Only Costs Ten Dollars

I remember a man who periodically used to come by the church I was on staff at years ago. He was always looking for some sort of financial assistance to which we tried to help him with. What struck me about this man was that every time he came by looking for help he would tell the story of how he once came to a service at the church years ago and put ten dollars into the offering. Of course, we would have helped this man regardless of whether or not he ever put a dime into the offering, but I found it amusing to hear this tale each time as if he had somehow earned unlimited use of the church's resources by his one time offering.

As I consider that story, I see that same mentality present among others. A good deed done here or there acts as our ten dollar ticket to heaven. There seems to be an image drawn in the mind that we will stand before God one day, desiring entrance into His holy and eternal kingdom where no sin will dwell, and that we will offer up a story like, "I once gave to charity," or "I helped a person who was sad," or "I rescued a kitten from a tree," and God will say, "That makes up for all of your sin. Come on in!"

I am reminded of the movie Fireproof where the main character's father was trying to help his son understand his need for Christ. The young man, who was a firefighter, pointed out how often he had helped people and that he was a good person. His father responded by saying, "Son, pulling people out of a burning building doesn't make you right with God." In other words, even our best efforts only amount to a ten dollar offering.

Salvation costs far more than ten dollars. The price to redeem us is astronomically higher than the pocket change we can afford. And that really is what we are in need of; redemption. When sin entered the human race we became the property of Satan and the devil will be taking his property with him to his final destination. But God, loving His creation, deeply desired to save us. However, being purely just, The Lord could not just overlook our sin. A penalty had to be paid. So what would be the cost to buy us back? A sinless sacrifice.

That is the whole point of Jesus going to the cross. His sinless sacrifice satisfied justice upon sin while providing a pardon for the sinner.

“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the
forgiveness of sins; “and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from
which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39 NKJV)

Christ did not come simply to heal some people and tell us to be "excellent to one another" (Bill and Ted reference). His mission was to buy us back. When you consider the cost of our redemption, our ten dollar attempts not only fall short; they are insulting!

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift
of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV)

So put your ten dollar offering of good works away. In fact, you can put your ten billion dollar offering of good works away. The simple fact is that you are worth far more than that and Christ paid the price. I implore you to humble yourself and receive His gift of salvation and then, as His adopted child, get those good-work offerings back out and use them, not to redeem yourself, but as an expression of love and thanksgiving for Him who first loved you and was willing to pay the price of your redemption.