One of the TV commercials for a certain restaurant chain has stood out to me recently. For one thing it simply makes me drool. It begins by asking the question, “What’s better than pie?” while showing pictures of a variety of such delicious looking pastries.
What’s your favorite kind of pie? I enjoy all kinds — cherry, pecan, pumpkin, chocolate, peanut butter. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of a type of pie that I don’t like. However if I had to choose a favorite, it might be a warm slice of apple pie topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
Something else about that commercial got my attention too. It asked, “What’s better than pie? Free pie.” It seems that if you go to this restaurant on Wednesdays and order a meal, they’ll give you a free slice of the dessert. Sounds pretty good to me.
Let me ask a similar question about a different subject. What’s better than salvation?
Think about all the different wonderful aspects of what it means to be saved. What’s better than having the assurance that your sins have been forgiven? What’s better than knowing that all is well with your soul and that you’re at peace with God?
What’s better than enjoying close fellowship with Jesus? What’s better than knowing you’ve got heaven to look forward to once this life is over?
Think of all the marvelous slices of the pie of salvation — joy, hope, love, fellowship with other believers, and so much more. What could be better than salvation? How about free salvation?
In a classic passage of Scripture, Ephesian 2:4-10, it indicates that our salvation is free. While it doesn’t use that specific word, it describes our being saved in terms of God’s mercy and love. It also says it’s a “gift” of God.
When someone gave you a gift for Christmas last month, did that person come up to you afterwardsholding out a receipt saying, “This is what you owe me for the present I gave you”? I don’t think so. It was a gift — it was free. If you had tried to pay for it, the person probably would’ve been offended.
Likewise, salvation is God’s free gift to us. Not only do we not have to pay for it — we can’t. God refuses to accept any efforts on our part to try to buy or earn our salvation. We have to receive it by faith as a gracious gift from a loving and merciful God.
The problem is that we tend to want to try to earn that gift. Some people spend their whole lives attempting to be good enough to be worthy of salvation. They hope they can do enough good works to counteract all the bad things they’ve done over the course of their lives so that God will allow them to go to heaven.
But none of us can ever be good enough. The good news is that Jesus was good enough to pay the price for our salvation, making it free for us.
Maybe some of us need to get off the futile treadmill of trying to be good enough and simply receive God’s free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus and His sacrificial death.
You might want to go over to that restaurant some Wednesday and enjoy a free slice of pie. As you’re eating it, you can also rejoice in the fact that while salvation is great, free salvation is even more wonderful.
Hmmmm … I wonder if they serve warm apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream. Maybe I’ll see you there.
The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.