Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman is perhaps best known for popularizing this saying which is now a common English dictum. Though consumer-trained eyes, we understand this phrase as Friedman intended: Anything billed “free of charge” still has a bill attached. It is both economic theory and lay opinion. Whatever goods and services are provided, someone must pay the cost. Thus, economically, we see that the world of business is first and foremost about profit and market share. And cynically, we suspect that every kind gesture or free gift has a hidden motive, cost, or expectation attached.
We live in a merit oriented world. So if we work hard and do good then we will be rewarded. Some people equate their Christianity the same way. If we do good, then God will reward us with eternity because he would not punish a good person. The question is how good do we have to be? How good is good? What level of good is good enough?
As Christians we are not of this world. We cannot go by what the world says.
In contrast, there s nothing we can do ourselves to be saved. Only Jesus can save us through grace.
Ephesians 2:8 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
We are all sinners. We must recognize this. Society doesn't call it sin. They say we are mistaken, that we make bad choices, that we are product of bad parenting, that we are addicted or unfortunate. Sin is not a regrettable lapse or an occasional stumble. Sin storms the castle, lays claim to God's throne and defies God's authority.
We must recognize this.
" Sin is like leprosy. It slowly eats our soul away and we don't even know it"
We must realize our sins and ask Jesus to forgive us.
Salvation of the soul is God's gift. Jesus is clear that the cost is His and His alone. There is no other way to find peace and happiness in this world.
C. S. Lewis put it this way:
“God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way. . .. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
"If you want to be happy, if you want to receive God’s blessing, then you must be poor in spirit. This means recognizing your spiritual poverty apart from God. It means recognizing the simple fact that, apart from the Lord, you’re lost, helpless, and hopeless."
Happiness and Peace come when you admit your true spiritual state. Blessed are those who see themselves as they really are, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Our lives are about fulfilling God’s purpose. Many people miss His awesome plan for them because they choose to follow their preferences. Obedience is sometimes hard, but the struggle and sacrifice are worth it. There is joy and peace for the believer who pleases the Lord and lives by His principles.
Grace is a free gift from God. We cannot earn it, or buy it, only accept it.
Behold I stand at the door and knock.
For all who are hungry, The Bread of Life is at hand.
Sounds like a free lunch to me!