Salvation: The Free Gift That Costs Everything

IMGTherefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Romans 5:18 (KJV)

This is another one of those articles I enjoy writing because it compares two easily misunderstood and seemingly contradictory biblical concepts and makes sense out of them. How can salvation be a free gift yet cost us everything?

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Matthew 13:45-46 (KJV)

Verses like these will bring great confusion to those without the benefit of the Holy Spirit, and that is because God’s Word was not written for them. Any understanding the unbeliever may gain from scripture is only given by providence via the Holy Spirit, and that only if they are genuinely seeking truth.
I am ashamed to say I was once one of the lazy Christians who read this parable, didn’t understand it and kept plowing through and reading. My spiritual life never started to blossom until I stopped reading my bible as if it were some novel but as a book of hidden treasures that needed time and patience to study and grasp.

I really feel saddened for the believer who feels they must run to one of the multiple bible commentaries when they don’t grasp a spiritual truth immediately. They have never experienced the joy and excitement of waiting on the Lord and having scripture supernaturally brought to life for them by the Holy Spirit. So on to the question at hand.

Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
Mark 10:21 (KJV)

This is where the “rubber meets the road” for true followers of Christ. We must completely lay down the things of this world before we take up our cross, yet so many try to do salvation “their way” and hold on to them. Some even try to integrate their sin into their walk with Christ by blatantly twisting scripture to suit them. There is no such thing as a “gay Christian” or “nudist Christian” as there is no such thing as a “vegan carnivore”. The concepts are totally juxtaposed. The same goes for any other pet sin one would try to synthesize into Christianity like so much leaven (1 Corinthians 5:6 KJV).

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
Matthew 25:14-15 (KJV)

In addition to the “free gift” of grace which is Christ’s sacrifice being applied to our account we are each given a measure of faith at the moment of salvation that we must invest wisely.

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
John 6:66 (KJV)

I remember when I went to audio engineering school back in the mid 80s. There were around twelve of us on that first day of class. I’m sure that everyone who was present that first day if asked would have sworn they would finish the course and graduate. But as it turns out, that is not what happened. A handful dropped out for various reasons; economic, academic or they simply lost interest.

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
Luke 14:26-28 (KJV)

These fellow students did not count the cost before making their initial commitment. Our salvation is much the same; we see it demonstrated all over the Bible as in the above verse or the parable of the sower. We must finish the race (1 Corinthians 9:24 KJV) and endure to the end (Matthew 10:22 KJV).

And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.
Mark 4:16-17 (KJV)

There are many false conversions where the person really wanted eternal life but wasn’t told there were requirements for salvation. Because they were unwilling to pay the price for the true Christ, which is everything, they were sold a false Christ. Once they were called upon to pay the price they were unwilling to pay it.

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