Every good Christian knows the price of what was paid on the cross. Mel Gibson showed us the physical aspects in detail. We’ve heard numerous hymns that talk about the price that was paid for us. So let’s take it as a given that a lot was paid.
What’s not ever spoken about is the cost. The cost to us. What is the difference?
In my job, I manage teams of developers attempting to deliver products our customers have paid for. The sales team needs two numbers in order to make a sale. The price that the customer is willing to pay. And the cost that the development team requires to produce the product. To the sales team, this cost represents how much the company has to pay in order to deliver what was paid for.
What does this have to do with salvation? Sunday School has taught us that the price Jesus paid means salvation is given freely. This is the greatest example of false advertisement. Jesus paid the immense price of salvation, but we are responsible for the immense cost. Literally, the cost is our soul. In an ironic twist, we have to sell our souls to God.
This sounds trivial. Of course, we would give our souls to God. In a heartbeat, we would do it for free. This is easy!
However, despite what the movies say, we have already sold our souls to the devil. From the day we were born, our soul has been his. This is why we are all born sinners. All our lives we have a desire and a tendency to sin. Samuel told the Israelites to love God with all their heart and not love vain and worthless things. Our entire lives are spent loving and seeking these vain and worthless things, our idols, our Baals. Our soul was freely given to them from birth, and the cost to reclaim it and give it to God is more than many can bear.
Today in Church, the sermon spoke of the difference between the wealthy who would give up his spare change (a lot of it), and the poor who gave up everything she had. The cost is not a transaction in your bank account. It’s all the blood, sweat and tears you put into that bank account. And usually that’s more than we are willing to give.
The more I study, the more I realize that the false promise made in Sunday Schools (and big people’s Sunday Schools) puts people in a very unfortunate situation. They are on the right track to understanding what it takes. In their heart, they can feel they know what needs to be done. But they are told that there is a shortcut. When the cost gets too high, they choose to believe the shortcut.
In Sunday School, I memorized:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” – Romans 6:23
Too bad they failed to mention:
“But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” – Romans 6:17-18
“But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.” – Romans 6:22
No one told me I had to be a slave to anything (or anyone). Is it possible to be somewhere in between being freed from sin and enslaved to God? I think God answered that with the “no man can serve two masters” verse. And I definitely know I have not yet chosen to be God’s slave. So where does that leave me?
If in everything else in life there are no shortcuts, why is this any different? Jesus might have paid the price. And it was a huge price to bear. We have to bear the cost. Only then can we deliver a product to God that is worthy of salvation.