40% off all purchases – buy one, get one half-off – $25 off purchases of $125 or more … with such deals, businesses hope to bait more sales before the end of the year.
But sometimes these irresistible deals are not as great as they seem. After all, do you really need another pair of shoes? Is it really saving you money?
The world is so good at marketing – packaging products purposefully so that we feel compelled to purchase immediately. But there are no handouts; you get what you pay for most of the time.
That may be why we are so skeptical about the gift of salvation.
Listen to this amazing deal: “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:7-9).
“Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (Rom 5:18,19).
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. ” (John 3:16).
Perhaps the reason we reject or dilute this amazing invitation with our own efforts or twisted theology is because we just aren’t used to getting more than we deserve. We just don’t know how to accept a gift without feeling obligated to give back. God offers us eternal life and we do the Asian thing, “No, no – you keep. I’m OK.”
Ok, God says… let’s add in sacrifice – not because I need it, but because you need it to realize that what I’m offering is worth it – because you need to understand what I am giving in return:
“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? ” Mark 8:24-27.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matt 13:45,46).
God asks from us to help us realize that we are not getting swindled but that we are getting an incredible deal.
Are we willing to take it up?
Father God, please help us to realize during this holiday season the incredible gift You gave – teach us to accept it without reservations. Amen.