The Price to Go Free
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I guess you could call it a "tale of two cities." It was during the Civil War. The Confederate Army had again invaded the North. The Confederate General came to Hagerstown, Maryland, and he threatened to burn the town unless they came up with a $20,000 ransom. A local businessman rallied the townspeople and he collected the ransom. Hagerstown was spared. Then the Confederate forces moved up to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and they made the same demand. Those folks didn't come up with the ransom. Chambersburg was burned to the ground.
Ransom unpaid, you pay the penalty. Ransom paid, you go free. The ransom made the difference. That's true, not only in the history of those Civil War communities; it's true in our own personal histories. You and I face a terrible penalty, and the ransom makes all the difference. Not just for now, but for all eternity.
The penalty every one of us faces is spelled out in six stark words in the Bible: "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). In other words, what we get paid for running our life our way instead of God's way is "death." And the Bible makes it clear that death isn't just your heart stopping. It's a spiritual death - eternal separation from the God who made us. "Hell" is the word God uses to describe an unspeakable eternity without Him, without His love and with no relief. It's a price I deserve to pay because I have made me the center of my universe and I have pushed God to the edge. That's God! It's a price we all deserve to pay. Our fear of death is not an irrational one; especially in light of the judgment that's right on the other side.
But then there's the ransom. Jesus tells us about it in Mark 10:45, our word for today from the Word of God. He says, "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." The price for you to go free has been paid by the only Son God has. When Jesus was going through that awful agony of the cross, He was literally paying for everything you've ever done against God. For you to pay for your sins would take an eternity in hell. But the Son of God was paying your price, going through your hell for you, and He sacrificed His life on the cross. He was literally taking your place and mine!
So the price has been paid. But only you can personalize for yourself what Jesus died to do for you. Your penalty before God is marked "paid" the moment you put your total trust in Jesus Christ to be your own personal Savior from your own personal sins. A rescuer comes and throws out a line to a drowning man, but that man has to grab the line. Jesus has done everything that was needed to be done for your sins to be forgiven, for you to be rescued from an awful eternity. But you have to grab Him with all the faith you've got and say, "Jesus, You are my only hope."
Have you ever done that? If you never have, and you want to be able to go to bed tonight knowing that you're forgiven and knowing that you're going to heaven, and knowing that you are right with God, why don't you tell Jesus right now that you are His from now on. You don't have to be in stained glass windows. You don't have to be in a church. God is right there waiting. He's been waiting a long time to hear you say, "Jesus, I'm Yours."
He's alive today because He walked out of His grave after He died for you. Now He waits for you to turn from the running of your own life and grab Him with both hands and say, "You are my only hope."
We would love to help you begin your relationship with Him. A lot of people have gone to our website and found that kind of help. And I want to invite you to go there as soon as you can today. It's YoursForLife.net. Or I will send you our little booklet Yours For Life at no cost and the call is toll free to get it. It's 877-741-1200.
The ransom is the difference between paying the price and going free. Jesus Christ shed His blood to pay the price for you. Don't risk another day without Him.
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