"Have you started your Christmas shopping?" If you are like me, that is a rather unwelcome question! No, and I'm not the only one. When I heard one friend ask another friend this, the response sounded a bit guilty. Christmas shopping brings to mind thoughts of trying to choose the perfect gifts and stay within budget.
And then there is God, from Whom comes every good and perfect gift. In His mercy and grace He declares us wicked people to be righteous (Romans 4:5). Before you were guilty of your sins, before you even were, even before the world was, God had planned out how He would rescue you from the guilt of your sins. You are holy and blameless in His sight (Ephesians 1:4) because He "did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all" (Romans 8:32).
We daily sin much and deserve nothing but God's wrath and punishment. We are stingy and greedy and selfish. But Jesus has redeemed you from the empty way of your sinful life. His budget for the gift of your salvation was not counted in silver or gold. No, He generously and graciously paid for you with His holy and precious blood through His innocent sufferings and death (1 Peter 1:18). His blood was poured out for the forgiveness of your sins (Matthew 26:28). And where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.
When we treat any of God's gifts - whether His love, heaven, forgiveness, or even daily bread - as something that we have earned through our "good" life, then we have stopped treating them as presents. These things become the worker's wages rather than the Donor's gift, as if God owed us! The Bible reminds us that "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Ephesians 2:8-9 goes a step further - "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast." Even the faith that trusts that Christ is your Savior is a gift from God! Therefore, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3).
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