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It’s not free.

I’ve always been bugged by teachers (of the Gospel, “preachers”) who say that salvation is a free gift. I don’t understand what they mean. Now, in Luke, I see that it is practically a lie.

Compare the stories of the rich, young ruler (Luke 18:18-23) and Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10). According to the scripture, salvation comes to only one of these rich men. Specifically, it is the one whose actions go beyond the law. Though the rich, young ruler kept the commandments, he could not sell his possessions and follow Jesus. In contrast, Zacchaeus declares that he will not only restore all that he has defrauded, fourfold (which is obedient to the law in Exodus 22:1 and 2 Samuel 12:6) but also give half of all his goods to the poor. Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector, the sinner, obeys the law and the prophets.

I don’t believe I can earn salvation. It is a gift; but one with consequences. The fruit of the spirit is largely devoid of earthly wealth. And in my experience, the Holy Spirit prunes much that I would have thought necessary.