Friday, February 22, 2013

The Gospel and a Timeshare Offer

Have you ever been promised a free gift or vacation and the only requirement is that you listen to a 90 minute sales presentation? I am sure you have seen the offers before: Free Cruise, $200 free cash, or my favorite, Free Flat Screen TV. The scam is if you listen to their free sales pitch, you then receive your free gift. However, it never seems to work out the way you think. There are always stipulations or the free gift ends up not being what you thought. You suffer through listening to a sales person tell you how this product or time share is what you need, and how it is not that expensive. They tell you, “I am going to write down a price that no one else is getting.” It is funny the things we are willing to do to get a good deal.

Sometimes people treat the Gospel like it’s a timeshare offer. We love the deal or prize of eternal life but they just don’t understand what it truly means. People look at the Gospel and think,  “If I say a prayer, commit my life, go to church then I am getting the reward”. The problem with this is that their pursuit is the reward, which is eternal life and freedom from hell.  When they follow this plan they’re left with a spiritual life that is built on a false foundation. People then end up spending a lifetime on a spiritual roller coaster trying to work hard at earning God’s approval and acceptance.

The truth is that there is nothing we can do or offer God that gains us Salvation.
Romans 11:35 says “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” There is nothing that we can do that will earn us salvation. The Gospel tells us that Christ freely gave his life for us. Romans 8:32 says “He who did not spare His own son, but gave him up for us all.” We did not earn this by our goodness, or wealth or skin color or any other earthly thing. Freely Christ died for us.  Again in Romans 5:6-8 it says “You see at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That is overwhelming!

So if you are a Christian, what motivated you to receive this free gift from God. Was your salvation experience a one time event? You accepted Christ and then began to work at keeping that salvation.  Is that what the Gospel is? Do you live everyday trying to earn this free gift over and over again? These are the areas where I have spent many days battling . Thoughts like “How can God use me?” or “I need to make it right with God.” We confuse this Christian life with a timeshare offer. We think we have to continue doing this or that to gain the reward. Our problem is we set our eyes on the reward or gift and we take our eyes off Christ. He is the reward! In Colossians 3:1-3 it says “Since, then you have been raised with Christ, set you hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”  When we become Christ followers by receiving the free gift of a relationship with Jesus, our old life is dead, no more earning God’s favor.  This passage goes on to talk in verse 5 about how we are to put to death the things below, which is our earthly nature.  Understand this passage doesn’t tell us to put to death the things below first so that we can set our eyes on the things above. 

We need to understand that truth that Christ freely gave you his life as a sacrifice for your evil earthly things. He paid in full the debt that was required for those sins. Live in that reality daily and understand that there is nothing in our life that can earn us God’s favor. Only a life that is found in Christ Jesus which is given to us freely can make us children of God. Stop living your life like you have to earn the Gospel and live a life worthy of the Gospel.

The reward is Jesus and He is free! Truly free!

-Marty Burgess
College Pastor, BCC