I was making a purchase at an office supply store the other day, and the cashier asked me if I wanted to buy a reusable shopping bag. She informed me that, if I bought the bag, the store would credit me for the cost of the bag and give me twenty percent off my purchase. Hmm. I had to stop and think about this for a moment. Should I buy the bag for free and get the discount, or pay full price instead? Actually, this was an easy decision to make. I immediately responded, “Yes, I’ll absolutely take that offer!”
While that was a sweet deal, it was not even remotely close to the good deal found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Have you ever wondered why so many people reject God’s free offer of salvation in Christ alone? What could possibly be a better deal than getting to be with God forever in glory and avoiding any punishment we deserve by repenting of our sin and receiving Christ as our savior?
When people put their faith in Christ alone, they are the recipients of many priceless gifts from God. Believers are declared righteous in God’s sight and adopted into God’s family. They receive eternal life along with a royal inheritance of glory and riches that are impossible to fathom. Every believer is indwelt and sanctified by the Holy Spirit and has Jesus as a brother. Jesus even shares with us God’s motivation for offering the gift of salvation in Christ:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
In light of all the benefits Christians receive by pure grace, why would anyone not take advantage of this gracious offer by God?
One big reason people pass up this priceless opportunity is that they must give up certain things when they believe in Christ. Jesus did not hide this fact; rather, he talked about it openly:
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
Taking up our cross and following Jesus means giving up things we like to have or do that are not pleasing to God. It means denying our sinful desires and, instead, wanting what God desires for us. Taking up our cross means we are no longer in charge of our lives; instead, we are under the rule of Christ our King.
Still, the act of taking up one’s cross and following Jesus is not what saves a person from God’s wrath and judgment. What saves us is the work Jesus did in both keeping the law perfectly on our behalf and offering himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. In salvation, God credits Jesus’ perfect righteousness to us, and he credits our sin to Jesus by grace alone through faith alone, which is also the gift of God (Eph. 2:8). People who receive Christ as their savior will pick up their crosses and follow their Lord because they are now citizens of his kingdom.
Many people prefer to disregard or outright reject God’s gracious offer. Some people don’t believe the truth claims of the Bible. Other people want God to follow their way of thinking on how he should rule the world. There are people who don’t care what God thinks or even believe he exists. Still, others want to stand before God based upon their own self-determined good deeds and character. Such individuals think that they can attain the glory of God without Christ, even though the Bible states otherwise:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23)
God’s free gift of salvation was not at all free for him. We cannot change God by our human reasoning. Because he is holy, just, good, righteous, merciful, and loving, all at the same time, God’s gift required his own Son to 1) be tempted yet keep the law perfectly and 2) suffer humiliation and die on a cross for sins he didn’t commit.
Receiving Christ as our savior involves humility. We have to realize that we can’t be right with God on our own, and this is something many people refuse or don’t see the need to do. In spite of such obstinate mindsets, God still graciously offers people life in Christ freely while time remains for them to receive it:
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. (Rev. 22:17)
It is far better for Jesus to pay for your sins on your behalf so you don’t have to spend eternity doing so. Let the perfect righteousness of Jesus, the God-man, be your righteousness, because it is something you can never attain on your own. Don’t wait to believe in Christ, because he is your one and only hope. Furthermore, you don’t know how long you’ll be here on earth to receive him as your savior:
For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Cor. 6:2)
There is no better offer that has ever been made—or ever will be made—than the one God has made to the world in Christ. God became man and died on a cross not to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through him (John 3:17). Trust in Jesus Christ as your savior today.
He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:10–13)