This post originally appeared in Daily Grace: The Mockingbird Devotional, Vol. 2. Get your copy today!
This is my comfort in my affliction: Your promise has given me life. (Ps 119:50)
Believe it or not, the legacy of infomercials is not restricted only to the magnanimous personality of the late Billy Mays, whose buoyant panache made every product a “must have” — even products like Kaboom!, Mighty Putty, the Awesome Auger, and OxiClean. His over-exuberant style became so iconic that every salesperson who followed him was forced into doing their best imitation. Nevertheless, what endures throughout every infomercial, copycat or not, is the hedged guarantee. This isn’t to diminish Mays’s effectiveness as a salesman or his incredible knack for talking excitedly about even the most mundane product. But notwithstanding the contrivance, convenience, or gizmo you’re being sold, there is always a caveat.
Infomercials brim with hedged assurances and money-back-guarantees. The promises are always accompanied by fine print. Almost as if the marketers themselves are owning up to the not-always-effective effectiveness of the widget that is being hyped as making your life better and easier. If you aren’t satisfied, they say, or if you don’t achieve the results you were expecting, we’re including a 30-day money-back guarantee. The promises that might sound too good to be true might be — but for only $19.99, you can try our game-changing gadget risk free!
Wouldn’t it be gratifying, though, to live your life according something more solid that “risk-free trials” and “money-back guarantees”?
Enter: the good news of Jesus Christ. News which pronounces even the worst of the worst as the prime targets of God’s sin-canceling, shame-defeating, guilt-erasing love. News which promises life because of Another’s death. News which comes with promises unaccompanied by stipulations or qualifications or protective fine print.
That might sound too good to be true. But Jesus himself has guaranteed this guarantee by the offering of his own flesh and blood — by putting down all the money required in this transaction. The gospel is no divine commercial for righteousness on sale. It’s the announcement of righteousness for free — no money down required and no hints of reciprocity.
This is light-years better than any hedged guarantee. That’s because it’s grace. And, as the beloved Robert Capon says, “Grace works without requiring anything on our part. It’s not expensive. It’s not even cheap. It’s free.”1
Robert Capon, The Romance of the Word: One Man’s Love Affair with Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1995), 10.