I got some mail the other day from Omaha Steaks, and on the outside of the envelope, it said, “Open for a “FREE* Smoked Ham.” Wow, a free ham. This will be perfect for my pot-luck dinner in a few weeks. With much excitement, I opened the envelope to see what I needed to fill out to get a FREE* smoked ham. Much to my disappointment, the smoked ham was only FREE* if I purchased $100 worth of other meats and cheeses.
Have you even been duped like that? We get coupons in the mail from local pizza joints that say, “FREE* LARGE PIZZA with the purchase of three medium, five-topping pizzas.” I guess free doesn’t mean free anymore. There’s usually an asterisk (*) next to the word FREE. There always seems to be a catch.
I love reading church signs. My favorite says, “Sign broken. Message inside.” Get it?!? Yesterday, I drove past a sign that said, “Free tickets to heaven. Inquire within.” Wow, free tickets to heaven. That’s cool. I get to go to heaven without doing anything. That seems easy, right?
Is that really the message that we’re teaching today – that you can go to heaven without doing anything or get a free pass? I know God’s grace is abundant, but is it free? I’m pretty sure you can’t just click your heals together like Dorothy and expect to be magically transported to heaven.
I think that’s where some of us develop flaws in our theology, that once we become a Christian, life will become free and easy. It’s almost as if we have developed the sense that we have earned unlimited access to “Get out of Jail Free” cards, so when something bad happens, we think, “Well, sorry, I’m a Christian. You can’t touch me.”
Being a Christian is hard work. On a very shallow note, when someone else is being a jerk, we’re not allowed to bark back or punch them in the face. We must be compassionate, forgiving, and hospitable. On a more serious note, we have the same chances as anyone else to be injured in a serious car wreck or get the flu this season.
A ticket to heaven is not earned through doing good deeds, but it does require action.
Is there such thing as a free pass to heaven?