“For by grace have you been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” – Ephesians 2:8
Our son, Jed, recently celebrated his 9th birthday. It always amazes me how time flies and even more amazed at how fast our children grow up. I couldn’t help but recall memories of the remarkable growth of their observation and insight.
About this time 2 years ago, my wife and I took our kids to the mall for the usual Christmas shopping. During that time, as typical at this time of the year, the Salvation Army kettle volunteers are in the malls as a way to raise funds for those who are in desperate need. Our ever-observant and ever-vigilant son observed the sign that read “The Salvation Army” as we passed by one of the volunteers and zeroed in on the word “salvation”.
He stopped to ask, “Mom, what is salvation?” We all stopped from walking at this probing question. My wife, happy to have been the recipient of this inquiry and welcoming the opportunity for a great teaching moment, replied that salvation is God’s free gift of grace to those who believe in Jesus Christ so that those who do will enjoy eternal life.
Our son, still sorting out the answer from my wife then observed that there was a bowl full of money in the “kettle” [beside the Salvation Army sign] where people kept putting in their donations. He then returned with another very quick yet striking observation, “Then why do we have to pay for it?”
Our son’s innocent and insightful commentary at what he saw joyfully reminded me what Christmas is all about – that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, was born to us as a child to relate with humanity to broker a peace treaty between us and a holy God that demanded His Son’s very own life as payment for our sins (Heb. 9:15).
Let’s not forget that though there is a penalty for our sins, Christ has paid it all on the cross on our behalf. All that remains is for us to accept the gift of salvation that Christ freely gives.
So, the good news for Christmas and every day: salvation is still free!