What does it mean to receive the free gift?

It’s Monday Grace!

Every day I get emails offering free gifts. Ebooks, classes, recipes, plans, on and on. Very few are actually free. They are short-term trial periods which will become expensive subscriptions. Or they have very little value unless you also buy some product. When I have to give my credit card to get something free, I refuse. I know better.

So the concept of a free gift might be somewhat tainted in our day. We have been taught to be skeptical. We look for the catch.

When the Scriptures refer to salvation as a free gift, some people are skeptical. They say that it isn’t really free. After all, you have to “sign your life away.” If you have to sign a contract or pay a price, then it isn’t free. If you have to give something up to get it, then it isn’t free.

Others point to the fact that not everyone is saved and say that the gift is not free because you have to do something to get it. You have to reach out and take it or open yourself to it. Unless you actually do nothing, then it isn’t free. And, if you do nothing to get it, then all are saved.

These objections make some sense if a person sees his or her life as something substantial and of value. (How else are we supposed to see our lives?) But the Scripture is also clear that we are dead in our sins. Our “lives” are not as substantial nor as valuable as we think they are. Sin took away our lives. There is nothing to give up, nothing to give away, nothing from which we could pay a price.

To give up something that is dead and corrupted is no act of goodness. It is just an acknowledgment of the truth. If I have a television that doesn’t work and someone offers to give me a new one for free, I would be a fool not to take the deal. Right? The old one is trash. If the person asks me to give it to him, there is no loss to me. I will not have paid a price or earned a favor. Carrying the new television into my home will not count as a good work on my part. It is an uneven exchange.

The exchange of my old life for the new life Christ offers is likewise uneven. He gains nothing, while I gain everything. He has already paid the price for my salvation, and He offers it to me as a gift. I do not “sign my life away” or pay anything for what He gives. I simply receive a gift.

The difference between the saved and the unsaved is not based on the price they paid, but whether they are willing to receive something Another paid for. Jesus paid the price, the only price, of our salvation.

One more thing: If my friend forced me to take the new television, gave me no choice, then the gift is tainted by the obligation. Many of us have received “gifts” that are burdens we didn’t want. I know people who have given puppies as gifts. But some people really don’t want puppies. It doesn’t seem like a gift if it is forced on you.

So, God will not force anyone. Those who will be saved must be willing to receive. He offers a gift of love, but He doesn’t force anyone. He may work to convince a person of the value of the gift, but the choice is still left to the individual. The only reason anyone would not be saved would be their own choice.

For as long as I can remember, people have been saying that Heaven is a free gift. Sometimes the language that is used is misleading or even wrong. They say that we should “make Jesus Lord” or “take Him into our hearts” or “turn our lives over to Him.” Those things sound like something we have to do if we want to be saved. But the truth is that Jesus is already Lord, He is knocking already at the doors of our hearts, and we have no lives to turn over to Him. He simply wants us to accept what He offers.

The gift is free. Take it.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “What does it mean to receive the free gift?

  1. Steve Tompkins

    Excellent clarity my friend!!! The whole world needs to hear this….”simply accept what He offers! Free gift of salvation!” Amen!

  2. Wonderful message! I recently heard another pastor say, God doesn’t give out paychecks, He only gives gifts.” Amen and halleluia!

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