Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift – 2 Corinthians 9:15
It is the marvel of marvels that what we have in Christ is the free gift of God: that is why it is called grace and it is, all of grace. It is impossible for the unbeliever to comprehend this concept until they are enlightened by the Spirit of God. All arguments amount to nothing, clever presentations are futile and extravagant performances are useless. The greatest need for man today is to have the revelation of the reality of the redemption. Many in Christian churches also have a difficulty grasping this transcendent wonder because human nature tends to want to gravitate toward a ‘works doctrine’ but grace is the fundamental truth.
By grace are ye saved… not of works (see Ephesians 2:8,9).
Now, only a fool would take any free gift. For instance, it would be insanity to willingly receive from a sinister character in the shadows of a dark alley a free syringe of Heroin. Yes, the first needle is free but life will be altered because from that point on there would be a dependence on the drug and the dealer.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…. James 1:17
… but the Gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord – Romans 6:23
My one year old grandson taught me something about gifts this past Christmas. There are four part to a gift: the wrapping paper, the bubble wrap, the box and the actual gift. The wrapping paper is bright and colourful. It is fascinating and even mysterious, it is designed this way on purpose. However, some little children never get beyond this part of the gift. This can be also true in the spiritual journey. Jesus is interesting, fascinating and even mysterious but if this is where we park, we will have missed what is important and when the glitter of emotion wears off and the flutter of feelings fades we will leave it or we will be like the butterfly lighting on the next pretty flower.
Then there are those who never get past the bubble wrap; the bubble wrap is meant to protect the precious gift inside but to some it also becomes a source of amusement. Pop, pop, pop, until it just becomes boring. If our Christianity is nothing more than entertaining our lives we will grow weary and our Christianity will be marked by boredom.
Then there is the box, to my young grandson the box is very practical: he put things into it, he sits inside it, turns it upside down and straddles it; to him the box is very useful. There are some who are “box Christians”, they see their Christianity as helpful, very useful. It provides social interaction, a network of friends and business contacts. Their Christianity also improves their bank account and fixes their marriage, but when the box of practicality wears out, their Christianity disappoints.
All these “things” miss the point of the real gift. Now, these things all have their place in drawing us and presenting us the true gift, but if they become more than that they become sin. The real question is, how do we know we actually possess the free gift and not just the trappings?…the free gift will change us forever. When we come to the cross and surrender our lives to Christ, we will become dependent on Him. The way we think will be altered, the way we act and feel; everything about us will be altered because what we receive is Jesus through His redemption. When we receive the gift, there is something radical that takes place and crisis will always reveal whose we are.
We can take Lazarus and set him in the pew, we can prop him up with all kinds of social activities, friends and acquaintances, we can fascinate with nice storys, we can amuse him with the greatest music and brilliant lyrics but until he has heard the voice of the Son of God and received the gift of God there is no life in him.
Have you received the gift of God?
But to as many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in His name. John 1:12
Eric D. Hilton