For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Free gifts tend to come with strings attached. You get a free gift for opening a checking account at the local bank. You get a free gift when you enter the stadium on opening day. You get a few extra knives for free when you make that late night infomercial purchase. But we know these offers are not free. Everything costs something. Bank fees and ticket prices and the cost of the first dozen knives are the actual price of the gift.
When we read Paul’s announcement of the free gift of grace and eternal life, we assume there must be a transaction to be made. What’s the catch? Do we have to be good enough to earn the gift or believe the right theology to deserve the gift or make the correct profession of faith in order to receive the gift? If you have to do something for a gift, then it is not free. Eternal life is either free or it is earned somehow. Paul insisted that the price of eternity had already been paid by Jesus; therefore all we can do is accept the gift and live the rest of our lives with gratitude for all we have received.
Do you believe in free gifts?
Lord, gifts can make me feel a bit uncomfortable, particularly if I don’t feel I deserve them. I would feel much better if you allowed me to earn my way forward in life. Even if I failed to please You, at least I would be in charge of my destiny. Your grace has a way of highlighting my limitations. If I can’t earn Your love, what good am I? However, I realize that might just be the point of Your free gift to us. It reminds us that we are not in control, we are not in charge, and we are not the independent creatures we strive to be. We must rely on You. I may not always be comfortable with that reality, but I am grateful for Your grace all the same. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.