12/19/14 Bob about 50
Tis the season for giving, and there is no better time than to give the greatest gift of all – the good news of Jesus! In fact, the good news – or Gospel – is based on receiving a gift we could never deserve in order to pay a debt we could never repay. Ephesian 2 says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…” I was trying to explain this truth to Bob, an older man I reached out to at a Burger King, by comparing it to someone trying to pay for a gift. “How would you feel if you sacrificed everything to give someone a priceless gift, only to have them insist on trying to pay you for it? Worse, what if the little they try to pay for it makes a mockery of its true value?” Why is it we try to “deserve” this gift, through our religious activities or humanitarian efforts or simply just trying to be nice to everyone? Bob had always assumed heaven is just a reward for “good” people after a life of religious duty. But rewards are given to those who deserve them, and in fact most people do believe they are worthy of the reward of heaven. However, salvation is given by grace, “not by works, so that no one can boast”. I spent some time explaining this to Bob, and hopefully he now understands salvation as a gift of grace, more than a religion based on obligation but a relationship based on love, a relationship made possible by God’s pearl of great price – Jesus – a precious sacrifice that we can receive with gratitude but could never repay.