“But wait,… for a limited time only….”

How many times have we heard those words or something similar while watching an infomercial on TV?  Most of them finish with, “Act now and receive a second one absolutely free.”  Well, it’s not exactly free.  You do have to pay shipping and handling.  And you can bet that the price of the first item covers the cost of the second.  TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, movies, social media–all of these present advertising, trying to convince us what to buy to make our lives happier.  Other sales pitches involve free gifts–if you try their product.  Somehow they never end up being totally free.

 Image result for free gift from God

Some people spend their whole lives going from one secular promise of happiness and fulfillment to another.  Each time, their sense of self-worth and happiness is sparked.  Unfortunately, that spark never lights the fire of true joy.  You need more than a spark to light a fire.  In Romans 6:23, Paul tells us about a truly free gift, For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).  The first part of this verse tells us what every one of us has earned, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  But the second part of the verse tells us about a free gift.  We don’t have to buy it.  In fact, it is so precious that cannot be bought.  When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power.  Let me have this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!” But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought! (Acts 8:18-19)  All the money and things this world provides cannot give us this free gift.  It’s not in stores and you can’t order it by phone or over the internet.  But it is waiting for us to pick it up.  It has already been delivered.  How do we get this gift?  What must I do to be saved?”  They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. (Acts 16:30-13)  And is there any other way to get this gift?  There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12).

And that spark mentioned earlier?  God the Father created that spark at creation.  Like a pilot light in a gas stove, it’s always there.  God uses salvation to use that spark to ignite the fuel of our old lives–drawing us closer to Him.  And the Holy Spirit turns that fire into a conflagration that burns away the deep and difficult areas of our lives and gives us the power to live and do things that God created us for.

But, it’s only a spark until we actually begin to follow the new life that we receive when we accept His sacrificial death as payment for our past lives.  I once heard a sermon where the preacher noted that the complete meaning of the word “salvation” in it’s translated form is “be being saved,” implying the past, the present and the future.  Like “spark,” “fire,” and “conflagration.”  So, whether that spark needs it’s first supply of fuel, or it needs to turn into a conflagration, now is the time to pick up your gift.  For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)  Don’t wait!  Pick up your free gift!

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