A syndicated writer recently made a "semi-serious" poll of his associates, including the question, "What is your most dreaded or unpleasant task?" Surprisingly, it was not income tax time or a visit to the dentist that received the most votes, but it was the process of buying a new car that was most dreaded. In fact, he heard some real "horror stories" from those with that experience.
Such negotiations include numbers and words, hidden terms and "let me talk to the sales manager" that cause heartburn and frustration to us because we feel we must enter into the bargaining process or be "bamboozled."
The art of "negotiation" has been around since ancient times, and the procedure is generally about the same today as years ago. My father was good at "haggling," but I inherited precious little of his skill. Some purchases demand some negotiation, and it would seem foolhardy to fail to do so. It is a game for some, and some even enjoy the game, but for many of us it is a dreaded exercise in frustration and anxiety.
Some things are not negotiable, however. As a rule, you won't get far trying to negotiate the price of a gallon of milk at the super market, or a pair of shoes at the department store. Those prices are pretty well "set," and are changed only in a sales program. So it is with a gallon of gasoline or a CD at the store.
There is an application here for those who study and live by the Bible. Truth is not a negotiable commodity and never has been. When God sets a "price" on an item, you are not going to get a price break by trying to barter with Him. Note some areas in which this applies:
The price is non-negotiable and already paid
If one seeks to "pay his own way" for his redemption, he is doomed to failure. You can't negotiate with God about your salvation from sin. The price of our redemption was paid with a currency that man does not have and cannot obtain for himself. The apostle wrote:
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot," ~ 1 Peter 1:18-19.
The price of satisfying God's justice is far out of our reach, requiring the blood of God's only begotten Son.
Who can claim to have access to that blood? Only the Father, and He was willing to pay. You and I don't have enough of the capital of this world to purchase our own redemption, for that must come through the blood of Jesus Christ-none other will do-only Christ's blood.
God's conditions of salvation are not negotiable
While Jesus paid the price, deity has placed several conditions upon acquiring that salvation. We know that not all will be saved, even though God's grace is available to all, Titus 2:11-14. Many, in fact, will be lost because they refuse to meet God's conditions, Matthew 7:13-29. Our responses to those conditions are found in the last will and testament of Jesus Christ, and they are terms of inheritance, Hebrews 9:15-17. We do not earn our redemption, but instead inherit by meeting the terms of His will - the New Testament of Jesus Christ.
Our worship to Jehovah is not negotiable
We don't make the "rules" regarding how we worship; God does! It was Jesus Himself who said:
"The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth," ~ John 4:23-24.
Our worship to Jehovah is beneficial to us, by means of the "teaching and admonishing" we receive from that exercise, Colossians 3:16. But note that there is a "must" in Jesus' words. Our worship must be "in spirit and in truth." We must worship with the right attitude or spirit, and in harmony with God's truth, or instruction. And that instruction is non-negotiable.
The life-style of a Christian is not negotiable
We are not given negotiating rights about the life of a Christian; we must follow the example of Jesus.
Titus 2 tells us that God's grace teaches us how to live:
"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ," ~ Titus 2:11-13.
There is our outline for living in this world. You may "make a deal" with that salesman, but God's blessings are not open to negotiation. Why not give yourself to Him - unconditionally?