It's almost time for me to get a new mobile phone since my two year contract is about to end. Recently, I walked into Radio Shack trying to figure out which phone I should get when the time came for the upgrade. Of course I went straight over to where there was this sign advertising free models for persons upgrading. Now that's the beat price on planet earth. Can’t beat free! As I got closer to the sign and started to read the small print below there were some very important information that told another side of this free offer. I laughed to myself because the fine print showed that what was free from far was actually far from free. The store didn’t lie in their advertising. It’s just that they failed to say up front what were the hidden related COSTS associated with giving you a free phone. Though it was free, it was certainly NOT WITHOUT COST. That's today's FF – NOT WITHOUT COST!

As we observe Holy Week beginning with Palm Sunday through to Easter Sunday, we remember in particular the Passion of our Lord. Our attention is focused on the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Once again we are called to remember that it is because of the finished work of Christ on Calvary’s cross that we are saved. As we remember all of these things we are declaring again to the world the simplicity of the Gospel. It is the message “salvation is free!” But even though salvation is a free gift from God that can be had by all who believe, we must also be quick to pronounce that it is NOT WITHOUT COST. Thankfully, the COST associated with gaining our salvation is NOT ours to pay. As the old hymn rightly says, “Jesus paid it all.” Salvation COST God. It COST God giving his only begotten Son to die so that we can be forgiven of our sins (John 3: 16).

But even though Jesus paid the COST in full by his death, there is a COST for us too. Our COST though does not lead to salvation. Instead it is the COST we pay because we have chosen to live out the salvation which Jesus Christ alone offers. Jesus himself teaches that when we choose to follow God’s plan of salvation, we must count the COST. In fact it is precisely because of the COST that is associated with salvation that some may turn down what is free because having count the COST, they are NOT willing to yield to what that COST demands. Jesus, even as he offered this free salvation, didn’t hide from his listeners the truth that following Him was NOT WITHOUT COST. He said, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9: 34) The German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, knew first hand such a COST and penned one of the greatest Christian classics – The COST of Discipleship.

Thank God salvation is free. Whosever will may come! But even though it is free and can be had by all, letÂ’s not lose sight that it is NOT WITHOUT COST. One COST was paid in full that day when Christ died on the cross. But as followers of Christ, we too must share NOT only in His glory but also in His suffering. And so thereÂ’s a COST for us too when we decide to embrace GodÂ’s free plan of salvation. But our COST pales in comparison to the COST paid by Christ. So as we live out all the benefits of a salvation thatÂ’s free, letÂ’s remember that itÂ’s NOT WITHOUT COST!

Mikie Roberts (Rev)
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