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If You Pay For Anything, You Pay for Everything

Grace Works Salvation Atonement

Contributed By: Allen Snapp | Date Posted: 2019-06-07

Scripture: Ephesians 2:8 ; Romans 11:6

Author: Allen Snapp


I have a pastor friend who received a very generous offer from a family in their church. This family was going to Disney World and they wanted to take my pastor friend and his family with them. In fact, they wanted to treat them to everything: hotel rooms, meals, tickets into the park, everything they could possibly need to enjoy this trip as much as the host family did.

The guy offering this trip told my friend that he had one condition and one condition only: If you pay for anything, you pay for everything. In other words, try to pull out your wallet to pay for anything, and you are going to owe for everything. He insisted it was to be entirely his treat or none of it would be his treat.

That had the effect of keeping my friend's wallet in his pocket! He never tried to pay for a thing!



Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins; to pay the debt we could never pay; to earn for us what we could never earn for ourselves. And the resurrection of Jesus Christ declares that Jesus’ payment was accepted by God the Father.  As a result, everyone who places their complete trust in Jesus receives eternal life – and a place in heaven with God – as a gift. 

So when it comes to your salvation, it is important that we all keep our wallets in our pocket; that we place your complete confidence in Jesus' finished work on the cross. We must not attempt to add anything to the finished work of Christ, lest we empty the cross of its power.  If you attempt to earn your salvation to any degree, you are beholding to earn the rest.  As the Apostle Paul explained, "If by grace, then it (salvation) cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace" (Romans 11:6). 

In other words, if you pay for anything, you pay for everything. 

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

George Wilson Must Die

Grace Condemnation Pardon

Source: U.S. Supreme Court Case File United States v. Wilson, 32 U.S. 7 Pet. 150 (1833)

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2019-05-19

Scripture: John 3:16 ; Colossians 2:14

Author: Illustration Exchange


George Wilson was a career criminal who, in the 1830s, was indicted on six counts of obstructing and robbing the U.S. mail, including threatening a carrier with bodily harm, and violent assault (wounding a carrier).  The violent assault carried a penalty of death. Rising public petition against the death penalty prompted then president, Andrew Jackson, to issue a pardon for the assault conviction. 

Amazingly, Wilson declined the pardon. “And now, to-wit, this 21 October, 1830, the defendant, George Wilson, being in person before the court, was asked by the court … whether he wished in any manner to avail himself of the pardon referred to, and the said defendant answered in person that … he did not wish in any manner to avail himself, in order to avoid sentence in this particular case, of the pardon referred to.”

The district court was not sure how to handle the complexities of the case, and eventually the matter was referred to the U.S. Supreme Court which later ruled that, “A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual on whom it is bestowed from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed. … A pardon is a deed to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered, and if it be rejected, we have discovered no power in a court to force it on him. It may be supposed that no being condemned to death would reject a pardon, but the rule must be the same in capital cases and in misdemeanors.”

Further, Chief Justice John Marshall purportedly pronounced that the value of a pardon “must be determined by the receiver … It has no value apart from that which the receiver gives it . . . therefore, George Wilson must die."  He was subsequently executed for his crime.


Who in their right mind would reject an opportunity to be pardoned? We would assume, as the Supreme Court did, that no person "condemned to death would reject a pardon." Yet, the Bible tells us that "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life' (John 3:16).  

In Christ, God has offered a pardon to everyone of us. Nevertheless, a pardon "has no value apart from that which the receiver gives it."

How many in our world allow day after day to pass without receiving God's pardon? Sadly, George Wilson didn't have to be condemned and neither do you!

God has, "canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross" (Colossians 2:14, NLT).


Heaven Series--Surprise #7: The People We Will Find In Heaven

Heaven Series Grace Paradox

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-12-24

Scripture: Ephesians 2:8 ; John 3:3

Author: Mitchell Dillon


It’s hard to imagine a scene dripping with more irony than the one we find at Calvary. What is God doing on a cross, a symbol of shame and condemnation? Why does Jesus promise a place in Heaven to an undeserving thief hanging on the cross next to Him? And how is it possible that the High Priest of Israel, Caiaphas, would plot the death of Israel’s Messiah? The characters all appear to be bizarrely miscast.

There’s an important spiritual lesson to be learned from this upside down tale. When it comes to the outworking of God’s grace, don’t assume anything, and be prepared for paradox.

With this in mind, we turn our attention to a subject that should be of interest to all of us. Who among us will make it into Heaven? Should we anticipate surprises here, as well?

Our Odds Of Getting Into Heaven

There are few institutions more prestigious, more sought after, or that hold a higher standard for membership than Harvard. The Cambridge, Massachusetts, school only accepts about 5% of the extremely qualified people who apply for entrance. In fact, the president, Drew Gilpin Faust, has said, "We could fill our class twice over with valedictorians."

Understandably, most of us would never give a serious thought to our chances of being accepted into Harvard. And yet, the vast majority of people seem to think that they’re a shoo-in to get into Heaven! But does such an expectation make sense? After all, no institution, not even Harvard, can be said to be more prestigious or to hold a higher standard than Heaven.

So what does the Bible say about our chances of getting into Heaven? The straightforward answer is found in a passage from Paul’s epistle to the Romans, which reads, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard” (Romans 3:23, NLT). God has a benchmark, and we all fall short of it. All of us have sinned. Not one of us meets “God’s glorious standard.” That’s a 0% acceptance rate!


Of course, many will object to being called a “sinner.” But that’s only because they fail to understand how the Bible defines a sin. Put simply, a sin is any violation of any of God’s commands. The Apostle John wrote, “Everyone who sins is breaking God's law.” (1 John 3:4, NLT). So, if you have ever lied, or stolen, or taken God’s name in vain, to name just a few, you have disobeyed one (or more) of God’s commands; therefore, you are a sinner. 

Also, you should know that sins of the heart are considered “real” sins. Jesus said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:8). So, if you have ever lusted after someone to whom you are not married, or held murderous hate in your heart, you have violated one (or more) of God’s commands; therefore, you are a sinner.

Finally, it’s important to understand that there is no hierarchy of sin so far as God is concerned. We tend to view some offenses as more weighty than others. It’s certainly true that some carry more grievous earthly consequences than do others. For example, adultery might destroy a whole family, while a lie that’s told to cover up a fault might not appear to hurt anyone.

But with God, every violation, no matter how minuscule it may seem, bears exactly the same spiritual consequence. Every sin causes a break in our relationship with God. In fact, the Bible says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10). If breaking any of God’s laws is equivalent to breaking all of them, then each one is of equal importance. The Law of God stands or falls as a unit. So, if you’ve ever broken any of God’s commands, whether in action or intent, you are guilty of violating all of them; you have fallen short of “God’s glorious standard;” therefore, you are a sinner.

On this basis, I think it’s safe to say that no one meets the standard of sinless perfection required to get into Heaven. But you might say, “Wait a minute! I know I’m not perfect, but I’m not a bad person. I’m better than most!” That’s great! But just because you are not as bad as you could be doesn’t mean that you are as good as you need to be. According to the Bible, no one, not a single one of us, is as good as we need to be!

But here’s the truly astounding thing: Despite the clear statements we find in the Bible on this topic, the most persistent misconception about Heaven is that it’s inhabited by people who deserve to be there! Exactly the opposite of what God has repeatedly said! Why is that? It seems that we are convinced that God is too loving to turn a well-intentioned person, like ourselves, away.

Certainly, God does love each of us. In fact, the Bible says, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). He is the origin and the essence of real love, so much so that God can’t be separated from love any more than love can be separated from Him. That would be like separating wet from water. To possess one is to possess the other. Likewise, to be separated from one is to be separated from the other (1 John 4:16). We can’t both hold God at bay and remain safe in the arms of His love.

This is why sin is so destructive. It causes a separation between the sinner and God, which means it also causes a separation between the sinner and divine love. That doesn’t mean that God stops loving us when we sin. But by separating ourselves from God, we lose contact with His love. Just as a river that has been cut off from its source is reduced to a series of stagnate puddles, so our capacity to love is dramatically diminished when we are cut off from the only true source of love—God Himself.

Proof of this is apparent when we compare how God loves to how people love. God’s love is unconditional; our love comes with strings attached. God’s love is free; our love must be earned. God’s love puts others first; our love puts self-interest first. God’s love never gives up on others; our love is impatient. God’s love never fails; our love gives way at the moment it’s most needed. God’s love is impartial; our love is highly selective.

God knows all too well that if He allowed us into Heaven as we are, His “glorious standard” would be destroyed and Heaven would be no different than the mess we find here on earth. He can’t allow that to happen! Real love doesn’t allow real love to be destroyed. Instead, it does something more wonderful than our "stagnate puddle" hearts can even begin to fathom.

Even though we have demonstrated that we habitually choose our own will over God’s, God has demonstrated that He loves us more than His own life. Jesus came to live in our place and to die in our place so that He might give His righteous life in exchange for our sinful lives.

By doing this, Jesus offers to reintroduce divine love into the life of every person who places their trust in Him for salvation. They become, as Jesus described it, newly born (John 3:3), having their capacity to experience and live in light of God’s love kindled.

The Apostle Paul summed things up when he wrote, "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God" (Ephesians 2:8). Not a single soul who makes it into Heaven can take credit for it because this only happens as a gift of God’s grace.

So, which is harder to get into, Harvard or Heaven? The answer depends on how one applies. If you hope to get in based on personal merit, then Heaven is far more exclusive, far more difficult to get into than any human institution, including Harvard. The rate of acceptance for those who rely on their own merit is 0%!

If, however, you have placed your hope in Jesus as your personal Savior, then Harvard is much harder to get into than Heaven. The Bible says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." That’s a 100% matriculation rate!

So, don’t be surprised when you get to Heaven and you meet those who were prostitutes and prison inmates, drug dealers and derelicts, liars and lunatics. Anyone and everyone who admits their own inability to meet God’s holy standard, and humbly receives the gift of God’s grace, will be in Heaven.

Think of it! The very sins that disqualify us from earning a place in Heaven, actually serve to qualify us for the gift of God’s grace! Even though no one should be there, anyone could be there. That includes a thief who died on a cross! It also includes you and me!!

A Day Without Grace

Repentance Grace Devotional Thoughts

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-11-07

Scripture: Mark 1:15 ; Ephesians 4:22

Author: Mitchell Dillon

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How Dare God!

Arrogance Grace Expectations

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-07-19

Scripture: Ephesians 2:8

Author: Illustration Exchange

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God Does Give Us More Than We Can Handle

Trials God's Promises Grace

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-03-24

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:13 ; 2 Corinthians 12:10

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Which Is Harder To Get Into, Harvard or Heaven?

Salvation Works Salvation Grace

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-03-18

Scripture: Matthew 7:13 ; Ephesians 2:8

Author: Illustration Exchange

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The Perfect Crime

Justification (Positional) Cross Grace

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-01-15

Scripture: Colossians 2:14

Author: Illustration Exchange

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The World's Most Perfect Food

Grace God's Care Works Salvation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-12-04

Scripture: Romans 5:8

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Church Bans Fat People From Leading Worship

Grace Legalism Church Health/Growth

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-11-16

Scripture: James 5:16

Author: Illustration Exchange

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