We are fast approaching the Christmas season. This is the season of giving gifts and spreading good cheer and joy to all. We are very accustomed to Christmas. This time of the year is a very natural and anticipated time. However, if we think about it, we would never have the season of gift giving if God did not institute it. He did this by giving to the world His God-gift. Without this first gift from God, there would be no Christmas today. What a sad world it would be without Christmas.
This brings us to the question, “The gift of God, what is it?” The gift of God is a gift of sacrifice by Him to us. His gift is a very expensive gift for God to buy. This gift He gives us, comes to us through great personal sacrifice. God sent His Son, Jesus on an errand to purchase the gift.
“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 NKJV
Jesus, the gift of God, in fulfilling the errand, gave His life to buy it for His Father. Well, you ask, “What is this gift God’s Son died to purchase?” The gift is your salvation. The salvation or saving of your soul from a debt you owe God. This debt is the payment of your life because of your sin against God. God owes all of us one thing. This thing is death, eternal damnation. God’s gift to you, is the purchasing of your death sentence and damnation through the death of His Son. He punishes Jesus for us to give the saving gift of eternal life.
“Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 NKJV
The sacrificial gift of God is offered to all. It is already delivered. This gift is sitting in front of the door of your heart. The card reads, “To you with love, God.” Humans are funny concerning gifts. From time to time, we receive a gift and are happy to get it. Then we open the gift and upon seeing the contents, we are pleased. However, sometimes we are displeased with it. Many gifts received become of no value to us. These gifts often remain in their box never used nor appreciated. Some gifts are removed from the box and used. Depending on the worth we put on the gift, the cherishing of it will vary. A gift with small value, in our minds, will not be cherished. This gift will be used, but when it stops meeting its need, the gift is easily discarded. The gift of great worth, in our minds, will be cherished. This gift will be owned and protected from misuse or damage. There are, also, those gifts we do not appreciate at all. They remain in their box, unused, not cherished, nor wanted for eternity. How sad the giver of this gift must be?
Humans look at the gift of God in a similar manner. Some people despise the gift, while others prize it. The gift of salvation is wrapped up for you in Christ. The gift simply needs to be received by you and opened to enjoy its benefits. This gift of God to you, is a gift which He wants you to use and enjoy. If I give you a gift of a shirt or blouse, my hope is, you will like the gift and enjoy wearing the gift. What a great disappointment it would be to me, you hate the shirt or blouse. Especially, since I heard you mutter, I wouldn’t be caught dead in that thing. Conversely, if you love the gift and immediately begin wearing it, what joy it will give me. How great is the joy of the giver, when the receiver takes full ownership of the gift? A rejected gift received with a phony smile of thanks, still belongs to the giver. Why is this so? It is, because the receiver never accepts ownership of the gift.
Gift giving takes a lot of thought, effort and sacrifice on the part of the giver. First, a desire must come into a person’s heart to give a gift. Some gifts are given out of obligation. These gifts are usually the worse gifts to get. After, the giver decides what they want to give as a gift, the task of finding and purchasing the gift begins. Once purchased, the gift is gift wrapped. This gift is then given to the receiver. The hope of the giver is very high as he gives the gift to the receiver. The receiver takes the gift hoping; it is something neat. They take the wrapped box and feel all around it. They hope to figure the gift out before it is unwrapped. Now the fears in the mind of the giver rumble in the mind. Will the receiver like the gift, enjoy the gift, be thankful for the gift and finally use the gift? Well, you were and have been the receiver of and a giver of gifts in times past. What was your experience in giving and receiving gifts? Was the experience, a joy or a disappointment?
Let’s examine this from God’s point of view. He came to a place of judgement, on the people who rebelled against Him. Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit. They broke the law. The penalty for this crime was the death sentence. Adam and Eve were now before the judge, jury and executioner. The verdict was in, guilty as charged. The sentence of death should be pronounced by God the Judge. However, instead of the death penalty, Adam and Eve get a reprieve. God gives them a promised gift of redemption. The main point of the gift is, the coming of salvation through the seed. (Read Genesis 3 to see the whole story.)
“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15 NKJV
Looking at this, we may wonder if God promised this gift in the spur of the moment. Maybe, God, like most gift givers, thought about the gift before confronting Adam and Eve. What do you think? The Apostle’s Paul and Peter teach; God thought about this gift long before He created the world and us.
“Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Ephesians 1:4-5 NKJV
“He (Christ) indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” 1 Peter 1:20 NKJV
God the gift giver, planned the gift of salvation, in every detail. This gift was going to take much effort and sacrifice by Him to get it to us, the receivers. The price of the gift is very expensive to Him. It is the death of His Son. This gift is not given because of obligation. The gift is given because He had a love for Adam and Eve and their offspring (us) before the foundation of the world.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 NKJV
Well, like any good gift giver, the giving of the gift needs the right moment. We know the moment was about 2000 years ago.
“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4-5 NKJV
Thus, the first Christmas present was given to us by God. This is His Son, Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary.
“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7 NKJV
God received the bill for His gift in 33 AD. The charge account payment was due. The death penalty for Adam and Eve must be paid in full.
“Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him.” Mark 15:25 NKJV
The first Christmas gift for our redemption was very expensive. The problem was, how do you give someone a gift in a coffin? The answer is, you don’t! The gift of redemption can only be a gift, if the gift is living and able to be given alive to all who receive Him. Therefore, the fully thought-out gift included the raising of the crucified Son of God from the dead.
“Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Luke 24:46-47 NKJV
God, the gift giver, has accomplished the giving of His Gift; the forgiveness of sins and eternal life through His Son, Jesus, the gift of God. It is up to you to take it. God is watching you and waiting to see your reaction to His gift. Will you despise it, just like it, or love it?
A tremendous lesson is learned in gift giving. Perhaps, you experienced this or are in the middle of it. In your family, maybe one of your children wants a puppy for their birthday or Christmas. They bug you for the pet continually. As a parent, you warn the child, this type of gift will require the responsibility of ownership. The child responds, “No problem, Mom and Dad. I got that!” A further explanation of responsibility ensues. If we give you this gift, you will be responsible for all the puppies needs. The puppy will need your love in action. The dog will need to be fed and watered every day. The animal will need you to walk it, train it, groom it, and play with it. The puppy will need your constant attention. It is a twenty-four hour a day undertaking. The cry comes back, “No problem. I can do it.” You give in and give the child the gift of a puppy. The initial joy soon turns into sorrow as the child does not take ownership of the gift. The ownership becomes the parents along with the responsibilities. Unfortunately, the above story-line is the norm in the giving of a pet.
Let us juxtapose the giving of a pet by a parent with God giving the gift of His Son. Most people reject the gift. Those who accept it are few. Many, who accept the gift of God are like the child receiving the puppy. They like the gift but refuse to take ownership and responsibility for it. The gift of salvation is accepted, but many rarely take salvation out of the box to enjoy and experience it in all its fullness. They are like the child with the puppy. The puppy gets a pet but is not fully enjoyed through personal ownership. Likewise, many of us pet Jesus for salvation but never enjoy the fullness of salvation’s joys through personal ownership. Jesus put it this way in the Parable of the Sower.
Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Matthew 13:3-9 NKJV
God’s gift is a wonder of wonders. Charles Wesley wrote the hymn. “And Can It Be That I Should Gain?” This song expresses the wonder of the gift of God. This gift of God is best expressed in the chorus.
“Amazing love! How can it be That Thou, my God, Shouldst die for me.”
This Christmas I urge all to receive God’s Christmas gift. Get your hands on the package, squeeze it, examine it, think about what it is. If you like what you have in your hands open the gift and make it yours. Christians, if you have already received the gift, isn’t it time to take ownership and responsibility for it? Only in this will you become a fruitful, powerful child of God. Praise God for the Gift of Jesus Christ!
© Guy Calandra Author-The Inside Word