It’s just too easy! (Or is it?)

Is Jesus the ONLY way to God? I asked this question on the blog recently, and one of you commented:

“For some reason . . . this just seems too easy! Just going through Jesus? Why is it so easy?”

You’re not the first person to be bothered by this “free gift” and to look for another way. There’s something about us humans that wants to WORK our way to God and EARN His favor. Just look at all the other world religions, and you’ll see that to be true.

The reason we view our salvation as “easy” is because of because of a big term known as “substitutionary atonement.” This means that Christ died in our place. There are all kinds of verses that show this to be the case. Verses like:

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).

“The Son of God . . . loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

I love the way Millard J. Erikson describes substitutionary atonement with this courtroom analogy:

“It is as if the judge passes sentence on the defendant, then removes his robes and goes off to serve the sentence in the defendant’s place.”*

It is easy for us to have a relationship with God precisely because it was not easy for Him. J. Oswald Sanders says it this way:

“By substitution we do not mean the saving of a life by mere assistance, as in the throwing of a rope to a drowning man; or by the mere risking of one life to save another; it is the saving of one life by the loss of another. As a substitute, Christ took on Himself the sinner’s guilt and bore its penalty in the sinner’s place.”**

What should our response be in light of such a gift? I think Millard Erickson sums it up well:

“We must never take lightly the salvation we have. Although it is free, it is also costly, for it cost God the ultimate sacrifice. We must therefore always be grateful for what he has done; we must love him in return and emulate his giving character.”

In the words of that old hymn, “Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small, love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”***

Are you taking your enormously costly yet free gift of salvation for granted? If so, I encourage you to spend some time pouring over all that your salvation cost God.

*Christian Theology by Millard J. Erickson, p. 834.
**The Incomparable Christ by J. Oswald Sanders, p. 230.
*** “The Wondrous Cross” by Isaac Watts.

About Author

Paula Marsteller no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her two young sons and seeking to practice "radically ordinary hospitality." She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in Central New York. You can catch her writing on

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