At first glance, it might seem that I am going to address the subject of debt. There are many Christians today who are “broke and still buying,” maxing out credit card after credit card, turning a blind eye to the unyielding admonition of Scripture: “The borrower is the slave of the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).
Not so long ago, when your wallet or bank account got to empty you had to stop buying. Not anymore! Today you can race past zero and dig a hole you may never climb out of. If you’re the United States Government, you simply print reams of dollar bills like they were monopoly money and dig a hole you may never climb out of. But that is a topic for another day . . .
Today’s message is not about miserable money management, but munificent deliverance through the power of the Gospel. The Gospel is for those who are spiritually penniless, and yet empowered to buy.
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Let the one who desires take the water of life without price. (Revelation 22:17)
The Gospel invites all those who have no money; they are broke. It’s not that they don’t have enough; they are busted! So how do you buy without money? GRACE! The grace of God is not designed to make up the difference of what we lack to stand righteous before God. The grace of God is designed to pay the entire cost of our salvation through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is only the proud, pharisaical heart that believes it beats in harmony with the Almighty. Only the self-righteous believe they have enough money for a seat at the table to come, buy, and eat. But this is not for you!
Words fail to capture just how desperate our condition is after Adam’s catastrophic fall in the Garden. It’s bad enough that we don’t have enough money to come, buy, and eat; worse still, whatever we do have, we spend on everything other than the things of God. Even if we had enough, we wouldn’t want to buy what God was selling anyway! We are so corrupted, so self-absorbed, so desperately wicked and sick, we never rightly see ourselves. It’s like peering at ourselves in a carnival mirror, seeing a reflection that is grossly distorted, and believing we look OK . . . at the very least, I look a whole lot better than many of you!
We look at our morality and see others who are far worse than we are . . . and believe we are OK. We look to our performance and see others who fall short of our efforts . . . and believe we are OK. We look to our goodness and see others who are bad to the bone . . . so we believe we are OK. We believe that in God’s economy we are graded on a curve . . . and at least we aren’t as bad as the next guy. We sound very much like the Pharisee in the temple, purring, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector” (Luke 18:11).
But this is not the Gospel. The Gospel tells us we have nothing, are nothing, and can do nothing about our condition. We are stone cold dead in trespasses and sins, “No one is righteous, not even one . . . All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23). We can only cry along with the tax collector, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” (Luke 18:13 NASB).
Because of our abysmal poverty, God has to do it all. And He does do it all through the supernatural power of the Gospel! It has been well said that the one thing we contribute to our salvation is the sin that makes it necessary; God’s remedy for our sin is our Savior.
Come, you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, drink the water of life without cost! Jesus has paid the price in full.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!