Questions for Christians Lesson 05 – If Salvation Is Free, Then Why Does It Cost Everything?

The Bible teaches us salvation is a free gift from God (Romans 3:24; 5:18).  However, the Bible also teaches us salvation costs us everything (Matthew 16:24-28; Luke 14:26-33).  Is this a contradiction?  If salvation is free, then why does it cost everything?  We will explore the answer is today’s Bible study.

What does free mean? Does free mean no effort?  Imagine you are living through a drought.  You pick up the daily newspaper and see a supermarket ad for free water.

How do you obtain the free water?  You have to drive to the supermarket.  You have to navigate through the crowds.  You have to pick up the free water and then take it home.  You open a bottle and finally drink the water.

As this example illustrates, something can be free, yet take a lot of effort to obtain.

Let’s read together Matthew 5:8, 48; Hebrews 12:14; and Revelation 22:14.

It takes perfect holiness to get to heaven.  How do God’s angels have eternal life?  They have never sinned.  

Let’s read together Romans 3:23 and 6:23.

Do you or I have the funds to pay that price tag?  No, just one sin disqualifies you from heaven.

Imagine a criminal standing before a judge.  The criminal pleads he only murdered one person a year ago.  However, the criminal has not murdered anyone since then.  Do you think the judge would exonerate that criminal?

Even if you stopped sinning for the rest of your life, you still have at least one stain on your record.

Let’s read together John 1:29; 3:16; and Romans 5:6-21.

Although we cannot afford the currency required for salvation, Jesus can.  As a human, Jesus lived a perfect life of obedience to God. Jesus is able to use His perfect record over your faulty sin-stained record.  When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are justified in the eyes of God through Jesus’ perfect life.

Salvation is a free gift, but effort is needed to obtain it.  Does this mean we are working for our salvation?  Let’s go back to our supermarket illustration.

Can the manager decide to end the sale as you arrive at the supermarket?  Can the manager decide to charge $100 a bottle of water?  Yes, it is his water to sell.  Despite all your effort, the manager can change the price and you can do nothing about it.  However, if you did not make the effort, you would not even know about the price change.  

Fortunately, salvation is still free today because of God’s graciousness.  So, what is salvation.  Is it a collectible item or a legal act?

Let’s read together Nahum 1:7 and John 17:3.

Salvation is not a thing; it is a relationship.  You relate to God by trusting Him and depending on Him, because He has delivered you. Salvation is when you put God first in life.

Let’s read together Matthew 6:24.

Imagine your life is a big gym ball.  You can barely hold it with your two hands.  Salvation is another gym ball and it is free.  If you want salvation, you have to drop your life to pick it up. You cannot hold onto two gym balls at once.

Whatever masters you’ve served before, you put them away to serve God.  Whatever life you’ve had before, you put it down and follow the life God sets for you.

Let’s read together Matthew 13:44-45; Philippians 3:8; and Hebrews 12:2.

People may think you are crazy giving up everything for Jesus.  However, everything pales compared to Jesus.  He gave up everything for you and me.

Does Jesus mean everything to you?  Do you see Jesus as a pearl of great price?  Are you willing to give up everything to obtain the free salvation He offers?


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