One thing I thought that was interesting recently at our Lifted-Up during the Pako Festa was when some people came for a bacon and egg roll, they were reluctant to accept it for free. Some people even offered to pay for it or at the very least make a donation for the food received. Perhaps these people were reluctant to accept a free bacon and egg roll because they were aware of the saying, “There are no free lunches in this world” for their experience has taught them that there is nearly always a catch.
There are generally two obstacles to people accepting Jesus Christ as their Saviour. First, is coming to terms that forgiveness and salvation are free to receive. So, a sinner needs to come to terms with the fact that they cannot contribute or add to their forgiveness and salvation. They cannot make a monetary payment, not even a donation, indeed, not even their good works in response to the forgiveness and salvation received can be added. As soon as they think they can, they defile the work of Christ. The work of salvation wasn’t free for Jesus for it cost Him is very life, but for us it is free to receive. Yet, that is often where the difficulty lies. Our sinful pride raises its ugly head and thinks, “There are no free lunches in this world – where is the catch? Surely, we must have to donate or pay something towards our salvation! It can’t be for free!” Yes, it is!
Perhaps there is nothing more dangerous to receiving the free gift of forgiveness and salvation in Christ than our self-righteousness. Indeed, unless we come to Christ totally bankrupt of all our own righteousness, aware that we are rotten to the core and have nothing to offer, we cannot be made clean by Christ.
That brings me to the second obstacle when people don’t think they need saving. Sinful pride will not allow them to think that they are totally bankrupt and rotten to the core. Some may even think that they are ‘good’ people and don’t need saving, or worse still if there is a loving God, the onus is on Him to save them because they are so good. In fact, they are so good, they absolutely refuse to take a bacon and egg roll for free and insist on giving at least some loose change!
Scripture teaches that we must come to a point in our lives where we confess that we are “nothing else but sin.” Yet, even to come to a point where there is an acknowledgement of sin and the need for cleansing is a work of grace. Sinful pride will not allow us to make that confession, however, if the gracious Holy Spirit is working in our hearts and lives, it will spring spontaneously from our lips. All the dark, filthy clothes of sin need to be stripped off before we can be clothed with the clean clothes of Christ and be seen righteous in God’s sight. “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Your cross I cling; naked, come to You for dress, helpless, look to You for grace; stained by sin, to You I cry: ‘Wash me, Saviour, or I die.’” JZ.
Pastor John Zuidema
Since 1997 Pastor John has been ministering to Churches across Australia and New Zealand.