You have heard the expression “There is nothing free in life.” There is certainly overwhelming evidence for such a statement. Consider the advertisements you have seen that tell you about the free ‘four day/three night’ vacation at the five star resort. You get excited, you respond to the ad by calling the number, you book your dates for travel, you pack your bags, get to the resort ready to enjoy your free ‘four day/three night’ vacation when they tell you that you must first go on a ninety minute tour and hear a presentation. Five hours later you emerge the uncomfortably proud owners of a ‘Timeshare’ you can’t afford, you don’t really want but you just forked over ten thousand dollars you don’t have in order to enjoy your free ‘four day/three night’ five star resort vacation. It would seem we are justified in believing that “There is nothing free in life.”
It is little wonder that we struggle so much when it comes to the simply truth of the gospel message of Jesus Christ. God tells us through scripture that we can be saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. That sounds wonderful! But where is the catch? Oh yes we are all sinners ‘for there are none that are righteous,’ the Bible informs us that ‘the wages of sin is death’…well there you have it the catch we owe God for our sin. But wait there is more, the Bible also states ‘while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.’ This is a demonstration of God’s love. So God loves us even though we don’t deserve it and he showed us how much he loves us by dying for us to pay the debt of our sin. But there must still be a catch? No there isn’t, it really is that simple. But we argue that it can’t be that simple and at no cost to us as individuals because “There is nothing free in life.”
The truth is just about every aspect of our lives have complications, very little is simple and certainly comes with a cost involved. It is logical for us then to doubt that God would give us a gift of salvation and not expect anything from us in return. The gospel is very simple yet as human beings governed by our own experiences and formulated logic we are determined that there must be a catch and we find it hard to accept otherwise.
Paul writes to the churches in the region of Galatia suggesting that they have become confused and ill-informed about the simple truth of the gospel. In the opening of his pastoral letter he outlines the salvation hope in Christ Jesus. It is not complicated, it comes with no conditions and it is free, nothing more and nothing less. He writes this way because the believers there had been persuaded that “There is nothing free in life” and Paul seeks to correct their misguided understanding and lead them back to the reality of hope which is gained by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
I love the comedy of Abbott and Costello especially the now famous “Who’s on first” routine. A simple baseball question is raised and because one seems to misunderstand the other an almost tragic and certainly frustrating exchange ensues into comedic brilliance that brings tears to your eyes.
Knowing the truth of the gospel should not frustrate nor confuse us but it will bring a tear your eye when you hear it afresh.