Babe Ruth for some cash…Herschel Walker for a bunch of draft picks…Esau’s birthright for a bowl of soup…these all qualify as horrible trades. Usually a trade will have at least somewhat equal value on both sides. But there is a trade that so many people make without even blinking an eye, that is the most unequal of all trades:
4 The sorrows of those who have bartered for (ran to) another god will be multiplied…
Imagine the God of heaven, the God of the universe, offering mankind the opportunity to spend their eternal life in heaven even though they lived a life far unworthy to be considered for such a gift. Imagine the extreme joy that one feels upon receiving that gift. The gift of eternal life found only in Jesus Christ is a very believable concept. Many, upon hearing it will pray that God will forgive them of their sins and help them along that path to eternal life. They repent, go to church for some time, even maybe serve for a time while there. The newness of this gospel has truly affected them, while in church.
Its easy to be a believer among the believers, but how do you respond to constant criticism when outside the church. Many Christians will speak the gospel at work, in the family, among friends, etc., at the beginning, but two main things happen as you continue. First, people who are enemies of His cross, will constantly persecute you just because you could actually believe such a thing. The constant badgering is enough to shut the mouths of many Christians, making them of less effect to God’s purpose in their life. Second, other people will have so many questions the believer didn’t consider before converting, putting doubt in the believers mind. This causes such a confusion, and the believer sometimes turns to ungodly sources to fulfill his intellectual problems.
Jesus makes it very clear that the gospel, for many unfortunate reasons, will be accepted by many and ultimately rejected by most. He uses an agricultural parable comparing the gospel as a seed to be planted. There are four types of ground this seed will be planted into. The ground is compared to a human heart. Three of those four hearts ultimately reject this gospel even though two openly accepted and received it. One outright rejected and the other received it and multiplied it. This parable is found in Matthew 13.
Lets look at the two that received then rejected this seed:
5 Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.
These are the two grounds that readily accepted the seed, but were unable to produce. Here is Jesus’ explanation:
20 The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word and it becomes unfruitful.
So the first ground here decided to barter (or trade) his salvation for the god of conformity. He chose not to allow the gospel to take a firm root within him therefore he allowed those who were the enemy of the gospel to drag him back to where he came out from. A good Church will warn new believers to not let this happen. The Church needs each other. The Church should work as a team, or a body, all willing and ready to use its gifts for the multiplication of God’s Kingdom. Trust me, conformity does not love you enough to die on the cross for you. This is an unfair trade. If you made your confession one day and notice you are right back where you were before the day of your salvation, come back and truly join the Church! We need you!
The second ground decided to trade his salvation for wealth. Maybe he came to Christ through the health and wealth gospel and his eyes quickly turned to the wrong prize. Instead of the prize of eternal life, he focused on gold and silver and found a way to justify his lust for money by finding the scriptures that would back him up. Our greatest wealth is found when we are walking in God’s perfect plan for our life. You can look for all the health and wealth verses you want but any set of verses can easily be taken out of context. Try studying the word of God in with a holistic perspective. Choose to know the whole counsel of God instead of a topical study. But don’t be fooled into trading your salvation for a brand new luxury car to take to church, or a nice house in the nicest neighborhood. Health and wealth don’t love you like Jesus loves you! Drop them before they drop you!
Your salvation is not a tradable commodity. But many people throughout the ages have chosen to put their salvation on the market! Be that good ground that received the seed and multiplied it. Working a garden, or a farm, is not easy. It is hard work. Its thankless work at times. If your Christian walk is not hard, question it! Its better to judge yourself now than be judged as unrighteous by God. Work out your salvation while you have time. Multiply the number of souls that will be living for eternity in heaven!
Come back to Christ…and be blessed!!!