Today’s Scripture: And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 16:31

One day during the Spanish-American War, Colonel Theodore Roosevelt came to a woman at the Red Cross tent in Cuba and wanted to buy food for his sick and wounded Rough Riders. But she refused to sell him any. Roosevelt was perplexed. His men needed the help, and he was prepared to pay out of his own funds. When he asked someone why he could not buy the supplies, he was told, “Colonel, just ask for it!” A smile broke over Roosevelt’s face. Now he understood — the provisions were not for sale. All he had to do was simply ask and they would be given freely. In the same way, the gospel is a gift from God and is to be received freely.

Eternal life is free. It is a gift. If you asked your kids to pay for their birthday gift, it would negate the gift (and make for very confused and unhappy children). If something is clearly called a gift, it must be free from works or obligation. Works destroy grace. The gift of salvation must be free. The motivation of the gift giver must be grace.

Our conclusion in all of this should simply be that God offered His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross in our place so that we might have the opportunity to receive His wonderful, eternal, life-giving gift. John 1:12 clearly states, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

When God gave the gift of salvation, He didn’t send a booklet of complicated instructions for us to figure out; He sent His Son. Keep it as simple as what Paul and Silas said to the jailer at Philippi when he asked what he must do to be saved in Acts 16: “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

Devotional by Jim Scudder, Jr.