walk in the word
Kids are so funny when it comes to gifts. The same kid who hugs and kisses you after opening the latest electronic gadget can go stone cold if the next box contains a flannel shirt. It doesn’t matter that the shirt was more needed, more expensive or harder to find. Its value goes unrecognized.
It’s just like God’s gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the greatest gift we could ever receive, though not everyone recognizes its value.
Great gifts are marked by at least four things:
That’s why salvation is the greatest gift ever. It had the longest time of preparation (God was planning it before the universe was even created); it involved the greatest cost to the Father (the death of His Son); it met our need for forgiveness (the ultimate need that we could never have met ourselves); and it will provide lasting enjoyment (for all eternity)! Yet many who hear about it are like the child with the flannel shirt; they just don’t think they need it.
A couple of years ago, my son Landon went over to the mall with a clipboard and asked people, “How do you think a person gets to heaven?” You would not believe the number of people who were like, “Well, by being a good person.” That is the biggest lie that Satan has foisted on the human race. If you can truly get to heaven by being a good person, then what did Jesus die for? Do you think you’re going to show up in heaven some day and say, “Hey! Got here! Did it! Look at me!” Not a chance! It is not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us (Titus 3:5, NKJV).
One day you will show up in heaven and stand before Almighty God, and He will say to you, “Why should I let you into heaven?” When that happens, you’re not going to break out your resume. “Well, I didn’t kill anybody. Once I put my coat down on a mud puddle so an old lady could walk across it.” The only acceptable answer will be: “Jesus Christ forgave me, and I received the free gift of eternal life. I received it by faith and believed that it was sufficient for my forgiveness.”
When we don’t appreciate the forgiveness that God offers, it’s a sure sign that we don’t realize the extent of our own sin problem. You might say, “I don’t have a sin problem.” Yes, you do. You say, “No, I don’t have one.” I’m sorry; you have one. If you don’t think you have one, then a big part of your problem is the pride of thinking you don’t have one. The Bible says, All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). If you have a hard time believing you’re a sinner, just ask a family member—they’ll set you straight.
God loves you and wants to forgive you, but you have to step up and accept the gift. You can’t earn it; you can’t buy it. But you can accept it, if you believe that God will forgive you (and He will). The Scripture says, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).
It’s humbling sometimes to accept a gift. But you know what? That’s what you have to do. Just reach out and take it, and then thank your Father in heaven for all the preparation and cost that went into it. It is the greatest decision you will ever make, because it is the greatest gift you could ever receive.
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