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Epistle of James

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Everything for Nothing

The Hebrew prophet Isaiah offered a great invitation to everyone to come to the fountain of grace.

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost” (Isaiah 55:1).

The blessings of God are available “without cost.” Salvation is a free gift of God. This invitation is a picture of grace in the Old Testament. These blessings are gifts of divine grace, and they are also obtained by grace. They are received only by a sense of need and readiness to accept them.

When speaking of the remnant of Israel the apostle Paul wrote, “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace” (Romans 11:6). Free grace and works are like water and oil; they do not mix. They are opposites; they are incompatible.

The only qualification is to be spiritually thirsty and needy. The “water” of refreshing and cleaning that Christ gives is the “water of life.” He gives the “wine” of joy, exhilarating, comforting, and refreshing that “makes glad the heart of man.” He gives “wine” with fullness of holy delight and “milk” that nourishes and satisfies the soul. These are pictures of the satisfying and sustaining qualities of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He brings satisfaction to the soul for time and eternity. The water, wine, and milk are the full supply of life joy and satisfaction in the Christian’s life.

The wonder of it all is that God gives it freely. It is free grace that God gives to sinners who are thirsty for God. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6). Only the grace of God can possibly give this kind of satisfaction. The purchase is made “without money and without cost.” The gifts of God are without money and without price.”

God freely saves the sinner not because man deserves it or merits it. The gifts of God are absolutely free in the most unrestricted sense of the term. Everything is given freely because it has been paid for in full by Jesus Christ. It cost the Lord Jesus Christ His blood. He gave His life in the sinner’s place. On our part, it is “without money and without price,” but on God’s part, it cost Him the most precious possession in heaven, His own beloved Son. Eternal life is the pure gift of God. It is foolish to think you can pay for a gift someone freely gives you.

Why is such a single truth that salvation is the free gift of God, and can only be received as a free gift by faith, so confusing to some individuals? Sinful man thinks there must be something to do or feel before a sinner can receive the gift of grace. “Without money and without cost” goes against our pride.

Whether we are the thief on the cross, Mary Magdalene, a murder on death row, or an upright, moral religious person we all come to the cross the same way to be saved. It is by free grace through the atoning death of Jesus Christ. The world religious systems all teach that the gifts of God must all be purchased or merited by man’s efforts. Sinful man wants to bargain with God.

Grace invites all who are spiritually needy to come to the waters of life, even to those of “you who have no money come, buy, and eat.” Are you bankrupt spiritually? Congratulations, you qualify for God’s grace.

Jesus gave a similar invitation to all to “Come. And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost” (Revelation 22:17). Did you note “without cost?” It is all of free grace. It asks neither money, nor price, nor anything of man. God did it all so that He alone gets all the glory.

The best things in life are free. Salvation and eternal life are no exception. The richest man on the face of the earth as well as the poorest, most miserable beggar must come the same way—by the grace of God in Christ Jesus.

I meet people all the time who think they must have some extraordinary vision, experience, revelation, or a certain kind and level of emotions in order to be saved. The plain simple teaching of the Scriptures is salvation is a gift of free grace through faith in Jesus Christ. “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved.” Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, and all we need to do is put our trust in Him. “Look to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth.” Look at Christ and be saved. That is the good news of salvation.

Come and drink the waters of life. It is “without money and without cost” that it might be by grace alone through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).


Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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