Can a person actually buy forgiveness? If so, how much would that cost?
As was my custom as a child, I would test the boundaries of authority. I would talk back to my parents, I would disobey, I would challenge teachers, I would use language that would require my mother to wash my mouth out with a bar of soap (I guess this was sort of a ritualistic cleansing my mother picked up from her Norwegian relatives).
After one such occasion, after I had fallen from grace, (I disobeyed Mom, again), I decided to try to buy my way out. The morning after, my mother found an envelope with some cold, hard cash waiting at her bedroom door. Upon it was written the appeal, “Please forgive me. Here’s 54 cents. Love, your son, Kelly.” Fortunately for me, that particular morning, 54 cents was the going rate for absolution. Whew! All was forgiven, and forgotten. None of us even remember what the actual infraction was but Mom still has the coins in their original envelope as a treasured reminder of that day I sought restoration.
I must confess, I don’t know if contrition entered into it at all. Knowing me, I was just “working the system,” but I was forgiven ‘til yet another day.
The separation between my mother and I was quite different than the separation that exists between God and man. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are all in the same boat, separated from God and destined to spend eternity away from Him unless we are reconciled to Him. And the price to be paid to restore us to a relationship with God was vastly more costly than my coins.
Actually, the ultimate price for mankind was astronomically, infinitely more costly than 54 cents. It required the agonizing death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, on a cross. And only Jesus Christ, the Son of God would do. We have an “invoice” signed in blood (the Bible), stating that our bill has been paid-in-full, but only if we choose to accept and believe it.
Many people strive to “pay” for this, to earn it, when in actuality no amount of money or good works can account for this. It is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast...” We can’t put an envelope of money at the door of Heaven and expect to be forgiven, we must sincerely repent, and accept forgiveness as God’s gift to us through the death and resurrection of His Son.
I’m sure God remembers each and every time when a person turns to Him and seeks forgiveness through His Great Gift; those are indeed treasured events. And, even if I had been the only person in the whole wide world who had ever sinned, Christ still would have died for me…to pay the ransom of 54 cents. Today is a good day to accept His Gift.
Today is a good day to accept His Gift!