The Gospel is Not for Sale

Salvation: God’s free and undeserving bounty!

The scripture clearly says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” in Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV). If we don’t understand this basic foundation of the gospel message, then we lose everything. There are no “two paths or more” to be saved, and we cannot be accepted for our “works” because God is the only one who can save Isaiah 63:1. When the scripture says, salvation is free that means it has nothing to do with our works. And if it is free we have no claim; it is just a mere favor. We have absolutely no reason to say that we deserve it because it is God’s favor. And this God’s free gift, salvation is full available through God’s Son Jesus Christ (read Acts 4: 12; John 14: 6; John 10: 9 and so on).

Salvation is not something that any church or a minister can offer; it is God’s offering to anyone who believes in His Son Jesus Christ. Why? Because He (God) is not willing that anyone should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). Everyone is invited; nobody is excluded (Rev. 22:17).

Why is it free? Because if we want to buy our salvation we have nothing to pay, we are bankrupt spiritually (Romans 3: 23 says…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.) and Isaiah 64:6 also says “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” We cannot save ourselves in any way so we needed a savior. But what was the problem? Why we need a savior any way? Because we all have sinned! Sin is something that we are all guilty of. It is in our nature. It is who we are. As the scripture says in Romans 5: 12 “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” By the way, 5:12 The Greek word anthropoi in 5: 12 refers to both men and women; see also verse 18. But you may say, “I am not that bad” or “I haven’t done anything like so and so.” Well, it is neither about the degree nor type of sin that matter, because God doesn’t put degrees on our sin. There is no big or small or there is no this or that type of sin. It is about the fact that we all have sinners and violates God’s law.

Salvation: Free, but not cheap!

Yes, salvation is free and it costs us nothing. But our salvation cost God His only Son, Jesus Christ. Don’t think your salvation is cheap because you received it for free. God as a giver has to pay a price (His Son) to set us free because we are bankrupted (spiritually, morally, etc), with no ability to pay for our salvation. No good deeds of ours CANNOT merit us salvation. As the scripture clearly says, we are spiritually dead in sin and inclined by nature only toward evil all the time,” but God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved.”

In 1 Corinthians 6:20, the scripture says, “for you were bought with a price.” For you were bought has an implication. It implies a price.  What price? The price of God’s own Son Jesus Christ. The price of His blood shed on the cross. If you want to know how much your salvation cost God, look at the cross of Jesus and you will understand. “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold, from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,” says the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1: 18-21 “but with precious blood as of a lamb unblemished and without spot, the blood of Christ.”

As the Israelites were slaves for Pharaoh in Egypt and the LORD brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand, so were we. We all were enslaved to sin and needed a savior. No ‘hasty evacuation’ this time, but God send His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to save us through His death. Jesus Christ, who is sovereign, glories, and everlasting deity taking upon Himself the form of a servant and willingly suffer the horrible and agonizing death on the cross. His death makes us precious because He bought us with His precious blood.

However, this salvation yet it is free it is not cheap either. The scripture clearly teaches us Jesus is our savior and also The Lord! Jesus died for our sins. He (Jesus) died for all, “that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for HIM” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15. This is not a “secondary effect” of God’s saving grace as many thinks but it is a supreme expression of divine grace. Salvation is God’s ultimate offering through His Son in which we live rightly from the beginning. Salvation is a loving act by nature. Without this loving act, which is salvation, through Jesus Christ, there is no other way that I can live for this loving act in the first place. To be saved means to live for Him.

Salvation: It is free, not cheap; and it is not for sale!

We are coming to the times where the gospel is put on a market like a commodity. The so-called “gospel,” marketing the “new-brand Jesus” to targeted consumers who treating Jesus as some kind of spiritual guru whose teaching is not different from any self-help franchise sold primarily as something to make our life much easier and simpler.  That is a pagan gospel not the gospel of Jesus Christ. Read Hebrews 1:1-2, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.” When Jesus taught or spoke, His words were not ordinary human words, but His words were divine, powerful, graceful and full of authority. In other words, God has made Himself known to us by becoming a man.

The Apostle Paul said, “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4,5). Unfortunately, our evangelical methods are focusing on entreating the truth to a lesser degree that doesn’t offend the sinner as possible as can. But, the message of the gospel is not an invitation to a relaxing life. But doesn’t Christianity offer peace, joy, and abundant life? You bet it does! But whenever we put the message of the gospel to a lower level where it has no effect other than a “self-help message” it leaves multitudes in the “lukewarm” Christianity. They believe but not committed, they become followers but not disciples.

But we are saved by grace to fully commit to Jesus. Possessing saving grace and professing or living out grace goes together. Take one and ignore the other, you will end up like the modern cheap, misguided and ridiculous Christianity that has no power and grace but profess a “user friendly gospel”. Salvation is a gift from God, to live for God, and to walk with God. If salvation is not something we can do, it is not also something we do for God; but it is about what Jesus does.

The message of the gospel, which is Jesus, which is eternal life, is not something that is given to us to sell but to share. And it is not about our effective strategy or invitation, but it is about knowing Him, trusting Him, worshiping Him, loving Him, obeying Him, following Him and proclaiming Him. I am neither against our ambition nor using various mechanisms to spread the gospel. My problem is when we advertising the true message in a way that satisfying the desperate desire of the world, that makes the gospel irrelevant and powerless. I don’t think we have a message problem; our problem is delivering the message in its integrity.

So what are we to do about this? I don’t think I have the answer, but I do know we have the true gospel. The gospel that is powerful to save. The gospel that is powerful to save us from the bondage of sin. But, when the gospel becomes man-centered, when we are more concerned about our needs and wants than God’s glory, we don’t have the gospel of Jesus Christ but a perverted gospel that is miss-directed, miss- focused, and miss-presented.

Look! The gospel may be for us but it is not about us. The Gospel is about JESUS!  Now we do need to be careful here. Yes, God gave us something wonderful, powerful and precious, which is His gospel even though we don’t deserve it. But, because the gospel is free doesn’t mean either it is cheap or for sale. The gospel is the power of God.

Eyob B Kassa

March 12, 2012

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One Response to “The Gospel is Not for Sale”

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