Gifts From God
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)
Christmas is the traditional time when Christians reflect on and celebrate the birth of Jesus’ and also follow the custom of exchanging gifts with loved ones and acquaintances. It is therefore an appropriate time to reflect on some of the gifts God has given to humanity. As the above scripture states, “to us a son is given.” The gift of his Son and the Son’s giving of himself in becoming incarnate is the greatest gift God has given to humanity.
In the book of Romans the apostle Paul compares and contrasts the offense of Adam and its consequences for humanity with the free gift of God and its consequences. “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.”(Romans 5:15) Paul’s association of the free gift for many by the grace of Jesus Christ doubly emphasises that what he is describing comes wholly and completely from God and is not the result of human work or performance.
This free gift brought justification, (i.e. acceptance by God through pardon and being accounted righteous through faith in Christ). “And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.” (Romans 5:16) Paul continues by explaining that the free gift includes a righteousness that comes from God through Jesus Christ, “For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17)
God’s favour also extends to “the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 10:45) and the gift of eternal life, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
We have the certainty that all the promises God has made to the people of God in the covenant of grace will be fulfilled and he will not repent of our calling, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29) In broad terms the whole process of salvation is a gift from God, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)
Father, we thank you for the gifts you freely offer, help us to use them in the service of others.
Study Eddie Marsh
Grace Communion, Sheffield
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