May 26, 2020

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I guess you could call it a "tale of two cities." It was during the Civil War. The Confederate Army had again invaded the North. The Confederate General came to Hagerstown, Maryland, and he threatened to burn the town unless they came up with a $20,000 ransom. A local businessman rallied the townspeople and he collected the ransom. Hagerstown was spared. Then the Confederate forces moved up to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and they made the same demand. Those folks didn't come up with the ransom. Chambersburg was burned to the ground.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Price to Go Free."

Ransom unpaid, you pay the penalty. Ransom paid, you go free. The ransom made the difference. That's true, not only in the history of those Civil War communities; it's true in our own personal histories. You and I face a terrible penalty, and the ransom makes all the difference. Not just for now, but for all eternity.

The penalty every one of us faces is spelled out in six stark words in the Bible: "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). In other words, what we get paid for running our life our way instead of God's way is "death." And the Bible makes it clear that death isn't just your heart stopping. It's a spiritual death - eternal separation from the God who made us.

"Hell" is the word that God uses to describe an unspeakable eternity without Him, without His love and with no relief. It's a price I deserve to pay because I have made me the center of my universe and I have pushed the God of the universe to the edge. That's God! It's a price we all deserve to pay. Our fear of death is not an irrational one; especially in light of the judgment that's right on the other side.

But then there's the ransom. Jesus tells us about it in Mark 10:45, our word for today from the Word of God. He says, "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." The price for you to go free has been paid by the only Son God has. When Jesus was going through that awful agony on the cross, He was literally paying for everything you've ever done against God. For you to pay for your sins would take an eternity in hell. But the Son of God was paying your price, going through your hell for you, and He sacrificed His life on the cross. He was literally taking your place and mine!

So the price has been paid. But only you can personalize for yourself what Jesus died to do for you. Your penalty before God is marked "paid" the moment you put your total trust in Jesus Christ to be your own personal Savior from your personal sin. A rescuer comes and throws out a line to a drowning man, but that man has to grab the line. Jesus has done everything that was needed to be done for your sins to be forgiven, for you to be rescued from an awful eternity. But you have to grab Him with all the faith you've got and say, "Jesus, you're my only hope."

Have you ever done that? If you never have, and you want to be able to go to bed tonight knowing that you're forgiven and knowing that you're going to heaven, and knowing you're right with God, then why don't you tell Jesus right now you're His from now on. You don't have to be in stained glass windows. You don't have to be in a church. God's right there waiting for you. He's been waiting a long time to hear you say, "Jesus, I'm yours."

Jesus is alive today because He walked out of His grave after He died for you. Now He's waiting for you to turn from the running of your own life and grab Him with both hands and say, "Jesus, you're my hope, my only hope."

I'd love to help you begin this relationship with him. That's why we've set up our website to do just that. I'd urge you to go there right now if you feel this Jesus tug in your heart. The website is Go there today, please.

The ransom is the difference between paying the price and going free. Jesus shed His blood to pay the price for you. Don't risk another day without Him.