#5. If Something Sounds Too Good to be True it Probably Is
Have you ever been sucked into a get-rich-quick scheme that turned out to be a scam or thought you were getting the deal of a lifetime only to discover it was all a hoax? If so you have probably learned the hard way what the old adage declares; “If something seems to good to be true, it probably is”. But some have made the terrible mistake of applying this maxim to the Gospel. One gentleman explained that he felt the Christian way of salvation is too easy and anything so easy could not possibly be true. But his confusion was evidence that he had completely misunderstood the Gospel.
I recently saw a documentary on Dateline NBC about a man who was kidnapped for ransom in Mexico by a group of anonymous criminals. He was stripped naked and stuffed into a small box where he was hardly able to move. There in that box he lay helpless and hopeless for more than 200 days waiting for redemption. Meanwhile his wife worked feverishly day and night selling personal effects and begging for money. This poor woman’s life was a perpetual nightmare during those many long hard months, but in the end, through great sacrifice, she paid the ransom and her husband was released.
The reality is that this prisoner did absolutely nothing to facilitate his own redemption. He literally lay in a box for several months unable to even stand on his own two feet. Yet, no person in their right mind would ever suggest that his ransom was an easy matter. Such a suggestion would be an insult to this entire family who would all say, “You could never imagine the incredible price we paid”.
This story is an amazing, modern day illustration of the Gospel. The human race was captured by Satan and bound in sin. We were helpless and hopeless; completely unable to save ourselves. But God looked upon our plight with great compassion and said, “deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom” (Job 33:24). That ransom was Jesus Christ and because He loved us, He stepped in, willing to pay any necessary cost for our redemption. The cost was great and it was ultimate. Jesus paid our ransom, not with dollars but according to Mark 10:45, He gave his life a ransom for many. He took our place and suffered the unimaginable nightmare of the cross. We will never be able to understand the price He paid for our redemption.
It is true that we contribute very little to our salvation, but what can a naked prisoner locked in a tiny box do to ransom himself. If someone does not act on his behalf he is doomed. And that is exactly what Jesus did for us. To describe our salvation as easy is not only ignorant, but profoundly insulting. Salvation is free, but it was not cheap. It is free for us because Jesus paid the enormous debt that we could never pay. And this is why I say that the Gospel is not too good to be true. Actually it is too good to be UNtrue. That is why we call it, “The Good News”.