Is Salvation Really Free?

How many of you have heard the expression that salvation is the free gift of the Lord?

It is something that we cannot buy, cannot earn, and can have simply for the asking, so it certainly does sound like it is free, doesn’t it?

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But what is “free’? One definition of free, as an adverb, is without cost or payment. Another definition of free, as a verb, is to release from captivity. And we can also define it, when used as an adjective, as not being under the control or power of another.

So something that is “free” can mean a number of things, and let me add that just because something has no cost doesn’t mean it isn’t priceless.

When we are saved, we are supposedly freed from captivity to sin and no longer a slave to it. But, then again, Shaul writes in 1 Corinthians 7 that while once free we are now to be a slave to Messiah, so in that sense, salvation doesn’t really free us, it just exchanges masters (for the better, of course.) And if being free means not being under the control or power of another, accepting God’s gift of salvation frees us from the control of Satan, but we need to be under the control (guidance?) of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) in order to grow in the Lord and become more spiritually mature and strong enough to maintain our freedom from being controlled by the Enemy.

Forgiveness of sin is free, but freedom from sin is not the same as salvation. Of course, salvation comes through forgiveness of sin- we can’t be “saved” if we are constant and unrepentant sinners. But when our sins are forgiven, that is just for then and there; God forgives what we have done, and understands that we will probably sin again. But asking for salvation is a lifetime commitment: forgiveness of sin is now, but salvation is from now on.

Let me say this again: salvation cannot be bought and it cannot be earned, no matter how hard we try. It can be ours simply by asking for it, but there will be a cost.

It might cost you friends; it might cost you family; you may lose worldly status, you may even suffer all three of these losses! And sometimes, it may even cost you your life.

Faithful worship of God and Yeshua is something that the world hates, so to be “saved” and, more importantly, to remain “saved”, you will pay!

Why do you think Yeshua says that to be his disciple we need to pick up our execution stake and follow him? (Mark 8:34) It means that, as I said earlier, the world hates what God loves. Throughout the Tanakh (and it is confirmed within the New Covenant) we are told that what the world considers wise, God considers foolish, and vice versa, so if you are for God, then you are against the world, and the world will be against you. Job loss, being persecuted verbally and physically, losing friends, being ostracized by family…all of these things, and maybe even more, can and have happened to the faithful.

So don’t be fooled by someone who is trying to “convert” you with rose-colored glasses and promises of peace, joy, and contentment because it is a lie. To be truly faithful to God and Yeshua means to be separated (holy) and different from the rest of the world, and that puts you in a position that is not very pleasant.

True, we can find solace in prayer and God will protect us in many ways from the world’s evil. Not only that, but we can also find comfort in the knowledge that this tsouris is only temporary, and we will have that eternal joy in the Olam Haba (world to come.)

But in the meantime, it ain’t no bed of roses.

Today’s lesson is that the next time someone mentions how salvation is free, set them straight. They have to understand that salvation is something that is going to have a cost to them. Only when people are properly prepared to know what asking for salvation will mean to them will they truly be able to make a decision they can stay with. Too many people hear the words “free” and “eternal joy” and “answer to prayer” and think that faithfully following God is a cakewalk.

It isn’t: it is a hard choice to make, it is costly to maintain, and it is difficult to do well but…it is certainly worth it in the end.

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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

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