(Article for publication week of 1-28- AD 2016)
"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price" (Isaiah 55:1).
The Book of Isaiah, especially the last twenty seven chapters is the gospel in the Old Testament. Here is the voice of the gospel herald hearkening to us with a glad announcement. He begins with "ho" to awaken our attention and to announce that he has a message worthy of our consideration and acceptation.
First, notice to whom the gospel invitation is extended. It is to those who are "thirsty." Now, we know that this refers not to natural thirst, but rather to spiritual thirst. This is an evidence of spiritual life. Those who are spiritually dead are not spiritually thirsty any more than a naturally dead corpse is interested in the cold water from the spring. Even so the gospel invitation is addressed to all those who have been quickened by the Holy Spirit and awakened to their lost condition and as such thirst for the living waters that only Christ can supply. So the Lord promised, "blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6). So, we also read in Revelation 22:17, "and the Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.' And let him that is athirst, come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Does my column this week come to one in such a case? Dear Reader, are you thirsty for that salvation that only Christ can give and that will satisfy a soul desperate for spiritual water? Well, hear my text--- salvation is absolutely free, "without money and without price."
Salvation has to be free, firstly, because it is priceless. The value is of such infinite worth that were it not free no one could ever obtain it. How would you place a value on your soul being saved from the everlasting fires of hell? How would you place a value on being saved from the power of sin over your benighted faculties? What value could ever be placed on being rescued from the pollution and filth of sin? What price tag could ever be placed on knowing Christ? How would you assess the value of the peace of mind that only Christ can give? What value could be placed on having an eternal inheritance reserved in heaven for you? What is it worth, say ye, to be right with God? What price tag would you place on being sanctified and perfected forever in Christ? These are just a few of the spiritual blessings that are treasured up in Christ for His people, and they are, I assert priceless and above estimation for their value. I suppose our infinitely Great and Omniscient God could tell us their true worth, but it would be greater than our human minds could fathom. So, since salvation is of such infinite value as to be priceless, God just freely gives it "without money and without price"!
Now, I want you to think with me a minute about what an insult it must be to God when bankrupt sinners try to pay something for their salvation. God freely gives a priceless gift, but then some ignorant wretch supposes he will pay for it with his own good works or merits or personal righteousness. That is an insult to the High King of heaven! Dear reader, are you trying to earn salvation by doing good deeds, or giving alms to the poor, or dipping soup at the soup kitchen, or tithing to the church, or repeating prayers, or some other so-called good work? Some of these things may be all right if you are doing them out of love for God. But listen, good works have to come after salvation, not before. And none of these things, nor any real or imagined good work will ever pay for, or help pay for the salvation of your poor soul. So thirsty soul, come to the living fountain and buy without money and without price for the priceless gift of salvation is absolutely free.