Summary: When buying the right home price, foundation and location play a huge role in our selection but what choosing our eternal home? Is not our eternal home so much better than any physical one?
Choosing the right home is not an easy task. Recently my wife and I went through the process of buying a new home. To say it was challenging would be an understatement! After all, a home is one of the most expensive items that a person invests in during their lifetime … so you want to make sure you get it right. One simply does not want to make an investment of this magnitude only to later experience buyer’s remorse because the unknowns turn out to be unbearable! Beyond the obvious price considerations, the house must have a secure foundation so that it will stand the test of time. There are also location considerations. Is the new home in a community that has good security, opportunities for developing friendships and facilities that can take care of one’s health needs? If one is willing to put this much effort in buying a physical home then should we not spend even more time accepting our heavenly home? If we applied the above five considerations in buying a physical home to our spiritual one how radically would our relationship with God be enhanced?
We first started looking for a new home about two years ago. I am a full-time accountant who is also a part-time pastor of a small church. Two years ago, almost to the day I remember entering McKees Mills Baptist Church for the first time to meet with the selection committee. They asked lots of questions of course but the one that I knew would take the most time, effort and money was their inquiry if I would be willing to relocate closer to the church? This was more than a reasonable suggestion, for to be part of the community goes a long way towards serving the members more efficiently and effectively. I told them I would begin to search for a home closer to the church but one that was also within proximity to both my wife and my workplaces. So, the search began …
When we first started looking at houses price was not much of a consideration. It was fun looking at homes that we could barely afford and then dreaming about living amid so many luxuries. It did not take very long for the accountant in me to kick in gear and set up a budget for purchasing a new home. While I loved hardwood floors, massive bedrooms, several bathrooms, screened in decks, paved driveways, skylights and so many acres of land that one could literally get lost exploring one’s own land; we simply could not afford all these luxuries. To choose a home that was more practical we weighed each item that we “wanted” against its associated costs. For example, if a paved driveway added 10k cost to the home we asked the question: was a smoother driveway without loose rocks worth spending the extra money? If two extra bathrooms added 15k cost to the home was the convenience of never having to “hold” it or wait one’s turn for a bath worth the extra costs? When looking at a prospective home we first looked to see if the price fit our financial budget and then explored how well its features fit both our needs and wants.
When choosing to accept God’s gracious gift of salvation one too must weigh the costs involved. Let’s first look at the cost of salvation from the perspective of Jesus. Christ chose to leave the comforts of heaven where He was worshipped by the angels only to be born amongst us (Philippians 2:4-8) as a suffering servant (Isaiah 53). Jesus voluntarily chose to die (John 10:18) for those who were His enemies so that in doing so He might provide atonement for their sins (Romans 5:10-11). There was a time when each of us were Christ’s enemies (Ephesians 3:23). We have all been on the broad path of gratifying our own desires (Matthew 7:13-14) and as a result deserve to die for having opposed our Creator (Romans 6:23). Instead of us dying for our sins Christ took our place so that we might have a chance to know God the Father in heaven. So, if someone asks you is salvation free then tell them that for Christ is costs Him dearly … His own life!
Does this mean that salvation costs us nothing? The answer to this question is both a yes and a no. From a Baptist perspective, we believe that salvation is a gift from God. We are very quick to quote Ephesians 2:8 that says, “it is by grace that one is saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast” (NIV). This makes sense considering that only Christ could atone for our sins. Even though the gift of salvation is free to us we still are required to “pay” or more accurately stated to “give back” something to receive this precious gift. To become saved, one must confess one’s sins, believe in the atoning death of Christ and surrender one’s will over to Him. He who freely gave us life (Colossians 1:16) and the ability to choose requires us to surrender our will or choice before salvation can occur (Romans 10:9). Until one acknowledges Jesus as Lord of their life one will remain unsaved. So, if someone asks you is salvation free then tell them for humanity it is but still requires surrendering free will over to Jesus who is the author of one’s life.