I was having lunch with a friend recently, and he asked me a question most Christians love to hear. The question was, "What does it mean to 'get saved'?"
I explained the "usual" answer from Scripture, but he needed to understand more. So I attempted to show him an example of the atonement sacrifice of Jesus in our lunch.
I know that sounds quite odd... but bear with me.
"John", I said, "look at your plate." He appeared to be a bit puzzled, trying to determine what was wrong with his food.
"What is on your plate?" He named the items there. I then asked, "Do you expect to pay for your meal?"
"Of course." was his response.
The next question was, "Why do you expect to have to pay for it?" He appeared even more puzzled now, because he didn't understand where this conversation was going.
He responded, "Well, because I ordered it and I'm eating it."
"John, what if I said to you, 'I have already paid for your lunch today. Order anything you want. No limit. Anything! This is my gift to you. Enjoy.' Would it really matter what you ordered or how much it cost?"
"No." he replied.
"Well", I continued, "What if you ordered your food and then didn't eat all of it. Would it make any difference to you? Would you have to pay for it?"
"Not if you have!" he replied.
"OK, John, bear with me. What if you ordered your food and then got up from the table and walked away? Would you have to pay for it then, keeping in mind that I said I had already paid for your lunch?"
(By now John was getting somewhat annoyed.) "No! You said you paid for it! What's all this about?" he demanded.
"So, let me make sure I understand what you are telling me, John. You understand that if I tell you I paid for your lunch today, it really wouldn't matter what is on your plate. You understand that I have paid for it, regardless of what you order. You understand that I have paid for it whether you eat it or not. You understand that I have paid for it, even if you walk away from the table and I never see you again. Right?"
"Right! Randall, what is the point of all this?" (By now, his fork was on the table, and he was looking very annoyed!)
"John, that is what Jesus did for you. He said, in so many words, 'John, I paid for your lunch. It is my gift to you. It doesn't matter what you eat. It doesn't matter how much you eat. It doesn't matter whether or not you eat. It doesn't even matter if you walk away from the table. I've already paid for your lunch. It has already been done. Just accept it. I paid for your lunch because you are my friend and I love you. Enjoy!'
He looked deeply into my eyes, then quietly finished his lunch. I paid for it.
John didn't ask any more questions that day. But he understood.
Jesus has already paid for our sin. It is finished. It doesn't matter how much we have done or how little we have done. The bill is paid. Period. End of discussion. All Jesus asks is that we accept it.
He said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) As I understand it, that is just another way of saying, "I have already paid the bill. Enjoy."
G. Randall Vaughn