Saying No To Free Gifts


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When I was a kid, we had a mother cat that delivered six or seven beautiful kittens. We couldn’t keep them, of course, so we put an ad in the newspaper for free kittens. No one came to claim one.

The same thing sometimes happens today. Authors, from time to time, offer free things—perhaps a free ebook or a short story that someone can download for free. Some even hold drawings in which a winner will receive some cool prize.

So, why doesn’t everyone who hears about these freebies, grab the opportunity to order or download or enter?

I’ve thought of several possibilities:

1. They already have whatever is being offered and don’t think they need another.
2. They don’t want to take the time to order or download or fill out an entry form.
3. They don’t want to give the required information.
4. They don’t think the give away will be as good as it sounds or that they have a chance of winning.
5. They see so many give-aways, they are numb to them and barely notice them.
6. They don’t want the thing that’s offered.

As you might have guessed, this post isn’t about promotional giveaways. Actually there is a clear parallel between those who decide to say no to an author’s giveaway, and those who say no to God’s great giveaway: the free gift of salvation, offered on the basis of His grace through faith in the sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son.

The first reason seems to me to be common. Those who say no to God’s free gift of salvation don’t think they need salvation. Maybe they think they’re good enough or that God is such a good guy he’ll overlook their reprehensible thoughts and behavior. After all, there are so many who are worse. You know, murderers and the like, people who nobody wants to hang with for eternity. As long as they’re not as bad as those guys, then maybe they can get by without forgiveness.

Another possibility is that they think they can do enough to earn their own salvation. Maybe they ascribe to the “I don’t take charity” motto. Or maybe they think they shouldn’t need salvation and are too proud to let everyone know they actually do.

Secondly, I suspect there’s a good number who say no to God’s free gift because they’re too busy to pay attention to His offer. They don’t want to slow down to find out what exactly they would have to do and how their lives would change if they said yes. They might even promise themselves “someday,” thinking they’ll give it more thought later.

Undoubtedly there are some in a third camp—they wouldn’t mind a free gift if the price weren’t so high. You know, if there weren’t strings attached. Sure, it’s free, but there’s personal information they have to disclose—sins they have to confess, truths they have to believe. Getting to a place where they are willing to be so personal is asking too much, in their book.

Fourth, it’s possible some say no to God’s free gift of salvation because they don’t think it’s real. They think He doesn’t exist, or that He isn’t good. Some few might think their lives have been so unutterably evil that God couldn’t possibly extend salvation to them; it just can’t be true.

A fifth reason for saying no to God is that there are so many offers on the table, each saying this about God or that or the other. He’s interested in making you healthy and wealthy, he hates gays, he will bring everyone into heaven eventually, he is one with the universe—in us all and all of us in him–and so on. Who knows if the story about Jesus dying in their place to pay for their sins, is reliable and true? There are just so many other possibilities.

Lastly, there are undoubtedly some who say no to God’s free gift of salvation because they don’t want to see Him showing up in their house, at their place of business, at their parties, or any of the other places they hang out. Salvation, frankly, isn’t appealing because God is attached to the gift. They don’t want “such a tyrant” bossing them around.

Amazing, isn’t it? Something so valuable, so necessary, so life-changing, and yet person after person refuses the free gift. They have their reasons, after all.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This article is based in large part, on one that appeared here with this same title in September, 2012.

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Published in: on August 23, 2019 at 5:12 pm  Comments (15)  
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15 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I think you missed one group Becky, those are the atheists of this 21st century and people who have actually compared the Biblical stories against the actual reality and the scientific facts.

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    • Don’t forget us who have been Christians for decades, even served as missionaries, and yet with new information that what we believed was not true, opted for truth and reality.

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      • Sorry, kiabooks, but “former Christians” don’t exist. You well may have thought you were a Christian, but turning your back on God at some point, and His Son, shows you never knew Him. Not my idea. That’s also in the Bible.

        Becky

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        • So Becky, personal attacks aside, the point is that we do not have the originals that you say are infallible or inerrant. The earliest complete copy of the bible in manuscript form is from centuries after they were penned.
          So what we have NOW as the bible is neither infallible or inerrant. And as such cannot and should not be relied on for faith and practice.
          As for your “former Christians don’t exist”.. that is a “no true Scotsman fallacy”. Which attacks the person rather than the argument, evidence or truth of a fact presented. You’ll find that there are quite a few of us with perhaps much more experience, education and knowledge of our former and your current faith than you have. Some, like me, count it as the prime reason we left. And to attack the person “ad hominem” rather than deal with what we are saying and our experiences is just an effort of insecure self protection. Have a wonderful day and please realsearch these things for yourself.

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          • No, kiabooks, you are simply making an assertion about the Bible. You have no way of proving what you say is true. You don’t know that when someone copied the Ten Commandments from the stone tablets, they didn’t copy them faithfully, or that when Moses wrote down the Law, that wasn’t accurately passed on to the next generation. If God miraculously inspired Scripture, do you think it was too hard for Him to miraculously preserve it? While you’re right about the Bible in its completed form not coming into existence for years after the death of Christ, it wasn’t “centuries.” Peter referred to Paul’s writing as “Scripture.” All the gospel writers and Jesus Himself referred to the Law and the prophets. They quoted from the Psalms, and the writer of Hebrews referred to a passage in the Psalms as something the Holy Spirit said. So maybe the Bible wasn’t all collected together as we know it, but it was in existence and it guided the people in the first century. In fact, Christ explained the law and the prophets to His disciples after His resurrection so they could understand His role as Sacrifice.

            Actually, you’re not accurate about your idea that saying someone who has left the faith was never a Christian, is a personal attack. Actually it’s Biblical orthodoxy. There are numerous passages that show this, some by John, some by Paul, some in the “parable of the sower” that Jesus told and others of His statements, some from Hebrews. Here’s one such passage: “but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.” That’s Hebrews 3:6. Then the writer says it again: “For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end.” That’s v. 14.

            I’ll say again, this is not an attack on you. But the truth is, you may have operated under the mistaken thought that you were a Christian, when in fact you were believing “a different gospel.” The Mormons do that. They say over and over that they are Christians, but that doesn’t make them Christians. Some Catholics do that. They went to confession and took communion their whole lives, thinking all along that these were things that had to do if they were Christian, but they never knew Jesus as their Lord.

            You mentioned research. Searching the Bible is the best research especially when it speaks about who a Christian is. I did that. I understood my own personal experience, but I wanted to know what the Bible said about who is saved and who is not. That’s the best research you could do.

            Becky

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          • “but I wanted to know what the Bible said about who is saved and who is not.”

            You recon you have got it right then Becky?

            The fact is other Christians interpret the same Biblical words with a different meaning and the Bible does not clearly list exactly what kind of people he is looking for but all of you call yourselves Christians and rubbish all the others. As he is supposed to be omnipotent and know everything present and future yet cannot do anything to save his people but cry into his cornflakes in the mornings when he sees another thousand people in developed countries ditch Christianity. This is a crazy world and I recon the whole lot of you are wrong, remember that no previous gods have ever existed and the same goes for yours and atheism is based solely on facts.

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          • Steve, I reckon God’s word has it right. I do not have to answer for those who twist Scripture or believe in part and reject the rest or any other false assumptions or untruths they believe. Words have meaning. The Bible’s words are very clear about salvation and who are God’s. Things that aren’t clear, are not the issues of salvation. Speaking of Jesus, Luke says, “And there is salvation in no one else for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Paul says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel [the good news about Jesus] for it is the power of salvation to everyone who believes . . .” These verses, and many more, are not ambiguous. Same with the “evidences” of who a Christian is sprinkled throughout Scripture. I quoted two in my response to kiabooks, but I can share more if these don’t seem clear.

            You have mis-characterized God, Steve. He absolutely did something about the mess we humans made of the perfection God created. He sent His beloved Son to walk in our shoes, to suffer misunderstanding and ridicule and rejection (I got just a taste of that at Ark’s site. Not easy to endure, and Jesus faced it in person, day after day.) Then He freely took our place so that we wouldn’t have to suffer the consequences for our sins for eternity. I don’t know what you think God is supposed to do. Hold us back from hurting each other by reaching His omnipotent hand down and grabbing us by the scruff of the neck? Actually that would change who He made us to be: free agents who can make up our own minds and make our own choices—and suffer the consequences of them. Unless we accept His payment for us.

            As far as atheism being based on facts, that’s simply not true. How can you have a negative be a fact. You have not searched the universe or beyond to demonstrate scientifically that God does not exist. It is merely your assertion, but you feel much better if it’s stated with the idea that there is fact behind it. But there isn’t. It’s actually foolishness, and the Bible says that anyone taking that approach is spiritually blind. Meaning, you can only see the world in front of you but the world beyond, the world of the spirit realm, is a black hole to you. So you simply dismiss it and say that those of us who do see it are deluded. It’s easier that way. Pretend that billions of people down through the ages have been deluded in the exact same way, to the point that many were willing to give up their lives rather than to say what they know isn’t so.

            Becky

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    • No, Steve. I included you. “Fourth, it’s possible some say no to God’s free gift of salvation because they don’t think it’s real. They think He doesn’t exist, or that He isn’t good.” You’ve replaced God with science.

      Becky

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      • No Becky, God was never replaced, just as with all the other hundreds of gods science has recognised him as another ancient myth.

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  2. There are no free gifts. They always cost you something. Christianity is no different. It will cost you everything you have, everything you are, and everything you want to be.

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    • That’s true, kiabooks, you have to give up your sin and going your own way and living for yourself instead of for God and others. That’s like the person who doesn’t want to enter a give-away because they have to disclose their email address. What’s not clear to people who don’t believe, is that the gift is far greater than anything we relinquish. And it is free in the sense that there’s nothing to do to possibly earn it. The changes you talk about aren’t a way of paying for the gift. They are expressions of gratitude, the natural working out of becoming an adopted child of God. It’s living out what we have become. God doesn’t crack the whip over our heads and say, now you have to KEEP THIS SET OF RULES. No. By His grace, we want to serve God and do the things that please Him. Because we want to. It hurts us when we fail, but God doesn’t quit loving us or erase our names from His Book of Life.

      Becky

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      • Wow… deleted the comment. So much for open discussion.

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        • Apologies… looks like you resurrected it. Thx. Very helpful

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          • Actually, I didn’t know it wasn’t posting so I didn’t know to get it out of whatever cyber place it landed, but I’m glad it made it out and onto the site. I do believe in open discussion.

            Becky

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