Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Didn't Have to Pay!

Acts 22:28

New International Version (NIV)

28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship.”

“But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.

There are so many things that we take for granted these days that were provided at a great cost. The freedoms and privileges we enjoy came at a great cost. Our Civil Rights came at the cost of many lives, the shedding of much blood, imprisonments, beatings; lynchings and many of our children are oblivious that someone paid a great cost for their citizenship.

My son Jaden asked me the other day when were we going to stay in the Hotel again. I asked him, “Why?” He said, “I like staying in the Hotel because the food is free!” Jaden doesn’t understand that I have to pay for the room and food; all he has to do is wake up and eat. Many of us are like my 8 year old, we don’t understand the cost because somebody else paid the price for us to enjoy the perks of citizenship.

Paul was about to be flogged because the Roman officials couldn’t understand why the Jews were in an uproar over his presence in Jerusalem. The Romans had occupied Jerusalem and had jurisdiction over the legal affairs of the city. As they stretched Paul out to be whipped he brought to their attention, I am a Roman citizen. Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”

The Commander of the Roman Army who was carrying out the order to beat Paul was startled because he didn’t know that Paul was a Roman citizen. This changed the ball game. Paul’s citizenship gave him rights that Jews didn’t have. But what threw the commander off was that Paul was Jewish, spoke Aramaic, looked like a Jew but had Roman citizenship. He asked Paul, “Are you really a Roman citizen because I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship?” Paul said, “I didn’t have to pay, I was born a citizen!”

He looked at Paul and made a pre-judgment because of his ethnicity and because of the way he talked and concluded that Paul couldn’t have been a citizen but Paul reminded him that I didn’t have to pay. Is there anything you are able to do today regardless of your color, regardless of where you live that you didn’t have to pay for? I remember getting a scholarship in college because my daddy fought in the Vietnam War. I didn’t have to pay because my daddy made the sacrifice. More than that I should have went to Hell but because Jesus paid for my sin with his life I didn’t have to pay to live out my life. I was born a citizen of God’s kingdom!

There are some things you don’t have to pay for because of what you received by simply being born again:

1. The penalty of your sin. Jesus paid the price of your sin by being flogged, and crucified. He went through excruciating pain so that you have forgiveness of sins. I Cor. 6:18-20

2. Abundant life. Jesus said, “The devil came to steal, kill, and destroy but I came that you might have life and life more abundantly!” John 10:10

3. Your Freedom. Not only do we have our Civil Rights but we also have the right to the tree of life through Jesus Christ. John 8:36 says, “He who the Son sets free is free indeed!”

4. Eternal life. If we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and believe in him we shall have eternal life. John 3:16 We didn’t even have to pay for it even though we should have. Jesus paid it all.

Dear God,

Thank you for sending Jesus to pay for my citizenship. As a result of being born again I am enjoying the privileges of citizenship. Thank you for the sacrifices of my ancestors who died for the freedoms I now enjoy. Somebody died that I might be born a citizen. I didn't have to pay for this and for that I am grateful!

In Jesus Name,


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