The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
In the gospel of Matthew Jesus tells two interesting parables, back-to-back. He says, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (13:44-46). What is interesting about these two parables is that in both Jesus tells us that when these individuals discovered the treasure or the pearl of great price, one purchases the field and the other purchases the pearl. If these parables are meant to teach lessons about discovering and embracing the gospel, what’s with the idea of purchasing? Isn’t the gospel free? Yes, and no. It is free in the sense that we do not have to earn forgiveness from God or work for it. Jesus makes clear that all that is needed for salvation is to “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). But this does not mean that God expects nothing in return for our salvation. This does not mean there is no kind of transaction which takes place between God and the sinner. There is indeed a transaction which takes place. God promises to give us all of Christ, all the blessings that come with Christ, all the forgiveness, reconciliation, and eternal life. In exchange, God wants all of us. That’s the deal. We get all of Christ in exchange for all of us—the whole of our lives and affection and devotion, the whole of our heart, mind, and soul. And if we withhold any of ourselves back from God, then we get none of Christ. The exchange with God is all or nothing. All of Christ for all of us.
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