The gift I am about to share may be different than expected. Nevertheless, don’t click away just yet! I want to share about a gift most needed by all.
Whether at Christmas or a birthday, we’ve all both received and given gifts. Gifts are a part of our lives as we demonstrate love and care toward one another. But have you ever refused a gift someone gave you? What would happen if you did?
If we were to refuse the receipt of a gift, that item would not benefit us at all. We would miss the blessing being given to us. Though it is right there before us, we possess none of it. It’s like not cashing your paycheck. What would be the point in that? Bills would not get paid, food would not be on our table. Not good!
The Ultimate Gift
In the same way, Christ has given us a gift: release from the penalty of our sins and a relationship with Him. Our sins keep us from God, from peace with Him now and through eternity.
These sins require payment to free us from our separation from God. It is a consequence of our wrongs in the name of justice. This is because God is perfectly good and no evil can dwell with Him. And by thinking of how none of us would want to spend even an hour with people who mistreat us, we can see why this is the case. We need a savior to free us from our evil, sinful ways–no matter how small or large they are.
For this reason, Christ died on the Cross, bearing our sins and their penalty in our place. John 3:16-17 says,
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (ESV)
God desires to save all, instead of any being condemned to death. Not all will come to Him and receive this gift, but by believing Christ has paid the price, we can be saved. He longs for us to receive forgiveness for our sins. He longs for reconciliation with us in relationship with Him.
Nonetheless, we can’t just say, “Oh, I get it,” and move on with our lives. Instead we must receive this gift as our own. If we leave it on the table, per say, what Christ has done will not benefit us personally.
If we were to refuse someone’s offer to pay for our dinner, we’d be stuck with the bill. Likewise, unless we accept Christ’s payment for our sins, we will have to pay instead.
Receiving God’s Free Gift
So Jesus has paid the penalty for us. How then is someone saved from the death penalty of sin? How can we receive this free gift of life and redemption?
- Admit your need to be redeemed in the first place. Realize that you–like everyone else–are a sinner, and none of us have done enough good deeds to make up for sin.
- Believe the good news of the Gospel: Jesus Christ paid sin’s penalty for you and purified you of that sin. Believe that Jesus is the Son of God who has also risen from the dead–bringing you along with Him in His victory over death.
- Repent of your sins—turn away from them and from living a sinful lifestyle.
- Realize that He calls us to live for Him instead of ourselves. This means making Him Lord and leader over our lives. Make the choice to do so.
“But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’” (Romans 10:8-11, ESV)
All of this may not make complete sense to you yet and that’s okay. Receiving a gift happens in a moment, but understanding all that gift provides is a process.
1. Read the Gospel of John in the Bible. There you will discover many truths and promises from God to those who believe. One example is the gift of His Spirit who lives within every believer, helping us walk out this new life with Christ daily.
2. Download a free Kindle version of the Bible or purchase a hard copy for less than $15. Free Bible apps for Apple and Android devices are also available. (If you need help getting a Bible, contact me.)
3. Share your belief in Jesus with someone! As the verses above mention, confessing with our mouths is a vital part of coming to faith.
4. Connect with other believers by finding a local, Bible-believing church and small group. Ask about water baptism. Request for someone to disciple you in the ways of God through His Word.
A Final Note
Feel free to contact me if you need any help getting started or just want to share your decision of faith. Know that because you have received this gift of salvation, a life-giving relationship with God awaits you, both in this life and eternity to come. It may not look like you think or have heard it will. Nonetheless, it is the start of an adventure unlike any you have ever known.