By Brad McCoy
The idea that salvation from hell is a totally free gift is often ridiculed today. Many suggest that eternal salvation is very costly to us. They encourage people to whom they witness to count the cost of becoming a Christian.
However the Scriptures clearly and repeatedly speak of eternal salvation as a free gift which is without cost to us.
The Lord Jesus said to the woman at the well, “If you knew the gift of God . . . you would have asked . . . and He would have given you living water” (John 4:10).
Similarly John records these words of Jesus Christ in Revelation 21:6, “I will give to him who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.” G. H. Lang said regarding this verse, “The water of life is not acquired by the process of fighting a life-long battle and conquering at last. It is a free gift, imparting spiritual life to the spiritually dead” (Revelation, p. 94; italics his).
Revelation 22:17 echoes this sentiment; “And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one whom wishes take the water without cost.”
The Apostle Paul called eternal salvation a free gift (or gift) not less than nine times (Romans 3:24; 5:15 [twice], 16 [twice], 17; 6:23; 2 Corinthians 9:15; Ephesians 2:8). For example, in Romans 3:24 Paul said that believers are “justified freely by His grace.” Similarly, in Ephesians 2:8-9 he wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it [salvation] is the gift of God, not of works, lest any one should boast.”
James spoke of the new birth as a gift from God: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father . . . Of His own will He brought us forth [regenerated us] by the word of truth . . .” (James 1:17-18).
The author of the Book of Hebrews spoke of eternal salvation as “the heavenly gift” (Hebrews 6:4).
Clearly the New Testament is not at all reluctant to describe eternal salvation as a free gift.
Gospel proclamation which carefully and clearly offers to sinners eternal salvation as a free gift is far from being a false gospel as some charge today. Indeed, it is the one and only true gospel.
As ambassador for Christ we are to proclaim the good news that Jesus paid the complete price for our eternal salvation (2 Corinthians 8:9; Colossians 2:13-14; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:18-19. There is nothing left for us to pay. No cost to count. Just a free gift to receive by placing our faith in Jesus Christ and Him alone. Now that is good news.
Brad McCoy is pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Shreveport, Louisiana and a member of the GES board.