This is the season when we traditionally celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The central part of this celebration is the giving and exchanging of gifts. We do this because we are told it is better to give than to receive. And there’s no better giver than God.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast
Some people will read this and say that salvation is the greatest gift and they’d be partially correct. The folks who subscribe to this notion are victims of what I call “lobby theology,” which supposes that salvation alone is good enough. These are the same folks who suppose that heaven is the endgame for the believer. The reason I call it “lobby theology” is because you’re “in the house” but you never take full advantage of its amenities.
The Author of Hebrews put it this way:
(Hebrews 6:9 AMP) Even though we speak this way, yet in your case, beloved, we are now firmly convinced of better things that are near to salvation and accompany it.
In other words, salvation brings with it better things!
Jesus said in John 10:10 that He came to give life more abundantly. Mark 10:29-30 says that those who forsake all for the Gospel will receive a hundred-fold of what they’ve left behind. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 9:8 that we have all Grace and all sufficiency in all things and at all times to abound to every good work. Philippians 4:19 tells us that our every need is met in Christ.
Now that you know the contents of the box, let me wrap it an put a bow on it for you:
(Luke 12:32 ESV) 32 “ Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
The. Entire. Kingdom.
Simply put, to say that salvation is the gift is to do the gift a disservice. God didn’t just give you the lobby, the vestibule, or the foyer, He’s given us the full run of the joint!
God’s nature is to give. He gave us a place to live. He gives us life. He gives us purpose. But most of all, He gave us His Son:
(John 3:16-17 ESV) 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 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.
The focus, here, is not what we’re saved from but what we’re saved to! We’re saved from sin but we’re saved to relationship with our Heavenly Father through Jesus.
If God will give and sacrifice Jesus for us, will He withhold no good thing from us.
(James 1:17 ESV) 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
The gift God Gives is Himself!
Did you see in verse 8 of the core text — “…it is the gift OF God”?
Jesus, when He met the Samaritan Woman at Jacob’s well, revealed Himself to be the Gift of God (John 4:10).
It’s amazing how God would introduce Himself to the world as a helpless baby. That the process of redemption would begin with earthly parents who raised, taught, and nurtured the earthly incarnation of the Creator and King of all! His swaddling clothes represented the wrapping of the gift. His crucifixion represents the real Christmas tree. And his resurrection represents the opening of the gift, the revelation of His indwelling presence.
Do you catch that? The “present” is His presence!
Jesus said in John 14:27 that He gives us His peace. Because of His peace we are at rest! In His presence we have peace. In His presence we have joy. In His presence we have healing. In His presence we have deliverance. In His presence we have prosperity.
The angels proclaimed peace and goodwill toward men in Luke 2:14. That is the gift of peace; the Gift of God.
To finish this off, let’s look at the second verse of our core text:
(Ephesians 2:9 ESV) 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
If you have to work for something, you earned it; it cannot be a gift. And, if you can earn it, you can boast about it. And, if you boast about what you’ve given, then it’s not a gift — it’s self-gratification. Jesus warned about this in Matthew 6:1-4. The Gift of God cannot be earned by our works, otherwise we’d be in competition with others. God doesn’t intend for us to compete against each other, He wants us to complement each other. And when we complement each other, we will compliment each other — giving is edifying!
The greatest Gift is the Gift of God. His giving of Himself is greater than any other thing He will ever give us!
© 2015 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)