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For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – Ephesians 2:8 NIV)
Gifts are fun, aren’t they? I love to give gifts, and I really love to receive them! How about you?
But I’m not good at picking them out. In fact, I have for years had my family just go ahead and write me a list of things they’d like to receive for Christmas and birthdays. That may sound pretty sterile to you, but believe me, they appreciate this approach!
And it has saved me much stress. Otherwise, every year I’d still be standing in the aisles of one department store after another debating whether I think this person or that person would even want this thing I’m holding in my hand. The struggle is real. Can you relate?
Thankfully, my youngest is very good at thinking of unique and useful gifts. And loves it so much that she is most willing to help me in that area. And it’s a good thing, because even with their lists, I need her help. In our family we all know who actually picked out all our gifts.
Do you know someone who seems to have a special knack for gift-giving?
I can think of a few more, too. But the greatest gift-giver I know is God. He gave me the most precious and perfect gift I’ve ever received, my salvation! Through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
I was 13 years old when the Holy Spirit convicted my heart that I was a sinner in need of a Saviour and that the only One who could save me was Jesus. I was at a youth camp with my church’s youth group when I finally realized that being baptized a few months prior had not saved me. I knew with a soul-deep certainty, that only the Spirit brings, that if I died that night, I would be in hell.
But God, because of His grace, wanted much better for me!
I will ever praise God for His love and grace toward me, a sinner headed to hell.
I did not deserve Jesus or Heaven. Even though at 13 years old I had not gotten into the “major” sins of life, I was still a wretched sinner.
Most of us tend to think that we are a pretty good person. And we judge that by comparing ourselves with murderers, thieves, rapists, etc. But if we’re honest with ourselves and before God, who knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts, we’d have to admit that we really are not as good as we think we are.
I mean have you ever been able to go just 1 day without committing any sin? Not one sin all day? As hard as I’ve tried, I have not been able to do that. And I never will. Not till I get to Heaven.
If I don’t do anything outwardly wrong during the day, I will have an unkind thought, or say something I shouldn’t about someone else, or eat too much, or not do something I know I should do.
It’s just impossible to be good! Only God is good. (Mark 10:18)
And, therefore, equally impossible for us to earn our way to Heaven. There is just no way that we could ever do enough good works to earn, or deserve, for God to forgive us for all the bad we’ve done and allow us into His holy presence in Heaven.
So many times, when I’m out soul winning with my church, I come across people who tell me that they are hoping that they will go to Heaven when they die. And then they proceed to list all the ways that they are trying to be a good person.
But then, praise God, I am able to show them Ephesians 2:8-9. And show them that salvation is by grace. It is God’s grace, through faith in Jesus, not our trying, that saves!
Grace is God’s gift to those who believe, who have faith, in His Son alone for their forgiveness.
No one works for a gift. If they work for it, it is no longer a gift, but their due. It is their pay, what they earned and deserve.
We couldn’t be good enough to erase all our sin and sinfulness in order to deserve salvation. So, God gave His Son to take the punishment that He told Adam in the garden at the beginning of the world would be the result of disobedience—death.
Jesus took my punishment and yours when He died on the cross shedding His blood for the payment of our sins. Sin against our holy God could not go unpunished. But God loved you and me so much that He made the way that He could remain true to His character of holiness, and yet pardon us who so grievously sin against Him every day!
That’s grace! God giving us what we do not deserve! His love, forgiveness, and salvation from the hell that we do deserve! And Heaven besides!!
I’m reminded of the old hymn, I Love To Tell The Story. The chorus says,
I love to tell the story,
’Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old, old story
of Jesus and His love.
And the third verse says,
I love to tell the story;
’Tis pleasant to repeat
What seems each time I tell it,
More wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story;
For some have never heard
The message of salvation
From God’s own holy Word.
And that is so extremely sad…that some have never heard. Let’s go and tell someone today of God’s wonderful gift of grace through our Lord Jesus Christ. That they, too, can be saved by grace.
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Hi! I’m Teresa. My passion is helping others to know the joy…and freedom!… of surrender to God’s perfect way through my writing at LadiesDrawingNigh. The Lord has used me to write eleven free online Bible studies so far, and I hope to write many more.