Colossians: The Word of Christ Dwelling In Us
March 31st, 2019
Scipture Reading: Colossians 3:14-17
Dr. Robert Cosand
Pastor Cosand: April 2019
WITHOUT MONEY AND WITHOUT PRICE
why God’s salvation must be free
Isaiah 55 is one of those chapters in the Bible that is filled with encouragement and hope and delight. It lauds the greatness of God’s character and God’s acts. It begins with a call to everyone who is thirsty to come and drink at His fountain. "Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isa 55;1). Notice the threefold command here . . . “come ... come ... come.” The thirst the Lord is referring to is, of course, not physical thirst, but the longing of the soul. He calls to people who are thirsty for truth and meaning, love, hope, joy, security. In a word, God is beckoning to folks who hunger and thirst for life, in all its fullness.
But the offer is made in an unusual way … that is to say, with unusual wording. In Isaiah 55:1 God says, "he who has no money, come, buy and eat." There seems to be a contradiction here. If you have no money, how can you buy what God is offering? Surely the point of this paradoxical wording is that what God has for the human soul cannot be purchased. It is free. That notion is confirmed by the last sentence in the verse: "Come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price." The satisfaction God is holding out to us here is a satisfaction in His word (Isa 55:2,3,11), satisfaction in His pardon (Isa 55:7), all flowing from satisfaction in God Himself (Isa 55:6). God is describing His salvation and He is saying, in a unforgettable way, that it is free. This passage is an Old Testament version of Ephesians 2:8,9: "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 one may boast." When we stop to think about it, God’s salvation must be free. It could be no other way, for at least three reasons.
First, eternal life has to be free because of the nature of the Giver. God is rich in mercy and grace (Eph 2:4,7). It is the very nature of God to give. Everything we have and are, are results of His giving to us, and His gifts are not debts He owes us. "Who has given a gift to Him that he might be repaid?" (Rom 11:35). The answer to that rhetorical question is 'no one.' We add nothing to God. He is in no way incomplete without us. But He is rich in mercy and so it would be inconsistent with His character to sell His forgiveness … to offer His mercy at so much per head. It would be unthinkable to imagine Jesus offering to raise Lazarus on the condition that Mary and Martha give Him their treasures. The father of the prodigal son would never offer reconciliation to his son on the condition that he give the father some payment. It would not be in keeping with God’s honor and glory to imagine Him brokering His grace.
Second, eternal life has to be free because of the infinite value of the gift. Salvation must be 'without price' because it is priceless. If we were to try to put a monetary value to it, we could not imagine a fitting price, humanly speaking. All the gold in Ft. Knox or all the treasures of the world or all the worlds of the universe cannot equal the infinite value of Christ’s gift, which is Christ Himself. When Simon tried to buy the Holy Spirit in Acts 8, Peter responded, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!" (Acts 8:20). The inestimable worth of God is the reason Isaiah asks, "To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with Him?" (Isa 40:18). If there was a price for salvation, no earthly treasure could purchase it because God’s worth is infinite.
Third, eternal life has to be free because of the spiritual bankruptcy of the human heart. We have nothing to offer a holy God. Before coming to Christ we were ‘dead in our sins’ (Eph 2:1), without any pure goodness or pure morality in ourselves (Rom 3:10), and we did not even seek God (Rom 3:11). God looks at sinful people and says, "I will declare your righteousness and your deeds, but they will not profit you" (Isa 57:12). Job rightly observed, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one” (Job 14:4). No one can change the dark moral and spiritual nature of the sinful heart, just like a leopard cannot change his spots (Jer 13:23). The hymn writer summed it up well when he wrote: ”Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling." Salvation must be free because we have nothing to buy it with. We have absolutely no spiritual currency, no righteousness of our own (Phil 3:9).
So God calls out to all people … "Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your wages for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food" (Isa 55:2). Let us make it our life’s consuming passion to drink at the fountain that is the infinite God and be done with trivialities that do not satisfy our hungry souls. That which delights the heart, with unending joy, is free.
Rejoicing in the Almighty,
Joseph A. Teisan - April 2019
AT THE INSTANT OF DEATH, DO BELIEVERS
IN CHRIST GO DIRECTLY TO HEAVEN?
When the dying thief on the cross, confessed his faith in Jesus as his Savior, Christ promised, “Truly I say to you, today shall you be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). There is no delay, detour or stopping off point. Jesus is the Speedway to the glories of heaven! “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain . . . having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better . . . to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (Philippians 1:21, 23,
2 Corinthians 5:8). Faith in Jesus reserves for you a specially prepared place, far beyond the grave, a dazzling mansion in heaven (John 14:1-3). And it is ready for instant occupancy!
After Christ died on the cross to pay for the personal sins of each believer, He rose from the tomb victoriously. When the few days that God has given you on this earth are over, and His plan for your life is completed, you will be, “carried by the angels” to see your Greatly Beloved face to face (Luke 16:22). Your soul goes into His Royal Presence, but your body “sleeps” in the narrow grave until the first resurrection (Revelation 20:1-6). “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).
Death is the separation of body from soul. Our mortal body returns to the dust, but our immortal soul returns to the Sovereign Creator. “It is appointed for men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Your soul’s swift, non-stop entry into heaven at death, is a strong incentive to believe in Christ.
Which two men went directly to heaven without dying? “Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him . . . that he should not see death . . . He had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Genesis 5:24, Hebrews 11:5-6). The widely-known Elijah, the prophet, also never tasted death. He was dramatically carried to his heavenly home in a chariot of fire! “There appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire . . . and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11). Notice, that there is no standing in line, no waiting until later, and no postponement, but rocket-type zoom into eternal glory.
In Luke 16:19-31, we see the after-life historical account giving 3 real life paintings of earth, Paradise and Gehenna. The dirt-poor beggar, Lazarus, hungry and full of sores, sleeps at the rich man’s gate. When death takes both men, the curtain is parted and we gaze into the unseen world of Hades, containing Paradise and the fires of Gehenna-Hell. They are separated by an unbridgeable gulf. The soul of starving Lazarus is carried by angels to Christ’s heavenly banquet. Sadly, the unbelieving rich man is sent to eternal flames. There is a no-cross-over canyon between heaven and hell. Belief in Christ fixes forever your heavenly destiny!
Joseph A. Teisan
(1931 – 2018)
Acts: Just a Coincidence
March 10th, 2019
Scipture Reading: Acts 8:26-40
Guest Speaker: Rev. Bud Fuchs