Imagine that an extremely wealthy businessman has noticed you. There does not seem to be a good reason for it. He just liked you. Because you have favor with this person, he has decided to gift you with something incredibly valuable. Bewildered by the whole thing, you don't know what to do or say. Do you gratefully accept the gift? Do you decline it since you really don't know the person at all? What if he has given numerous such gifts to many people? But still, you are hesitant because the gift is so grand. It's almost like a dream, not reality at all. After all, no one in their right mind would do that! The trouble is that you know you do not deserve such a gift. The money wasn't earned by you. Gifts like that have to be paid for and you are very aware that you could never afford such a wonderful item. That makes it so hard to accept, doesn't it?
What does that have to do with God's greatest gift? Glad you asked. God has a gift for you. Does that surprise you? He is our creator. Because of that, He watches over us like a Father watching His child. Did you ever notice what happens to a father when a baby says "Dada" for the first time? Daddy turns into a grinning idiot, spouting baby-talk, walking around with his chest out so far, you get worried something might pop. The word is PROUD. He is proud of his child and a little proud of himself too. Now, he has bragging to do at work, strutting about like a peacock. As the child grows, Daddy gives his baby things he or she needs and wants. If it's a girl, she can wrap him around her finger. He will give her anything just to see the smile on his little girl's face. If it's a boy, that's a chip off the old block. "Nothing is too good for my boy", he says.
God is no different. He is a proud Father. All of His children are precious to Him. Therefore, He wants to give them everything He is able. But something happened after creation. The devil got into the world and sin was born. God had a problem. All of a sudden, it wasn't so easy to give His children things. They couldn't hear Him as well anymore. Because of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, He didn't have the deed to the world anymore. God had given all authority to Adam and he traded it to the devil. From that time on, Satan had authority over the earth. That is why sin is so rampant and the world is so dark. The solution to God's problem came in the form of Jesus, the Son of God. The plan was that Jesus come to earth as a human, live a sinless life, and sacrifice His life on a cross to buy back the authority from the devil. It worked. The death of Jesus on that cross took care of a multitude of sins, sickness and disease.
Wait a minute. That means that Jesus died. How is that a gift? God is Father. He loved this world so much that He could not let the devil have the authority on this earth forever. After all, we humans, God's creation, live here and would continue to suffer because of the devil. There had to be a solution. Jesus is the answer. Got told us in His Word how much He loves us.
John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
He gave His Son to be executed in our place so that we would not have to go to hell. Yet, there is a condition. It says that only someone who believes that Jesus died for THEM will have everlasting life. He did not send Jesus into the world to die just to make a show for somebody. This has spiritual consequences. By Jesus dying on the cross, the authority that Satan has becomes God's authority once more through Jesus.
But how does that help me? When Jesus went to the cross, He was our representative, our stand-in. He did what we would have to do. Because the world is full of sin, we are born into it. All of us are sinners with no hope whatsoever without intervention of some type. God could not allow the devil to continue to have that advantage. Therefore, He sent Jesus to take care of the problem. So, when we accept Jesus as our Savior, when we ask Him to forgive us because we saw that He does forgive us, something happens. We change. The old spiritual "us" goes away. It's gone. God puts a new spiritual "us" in it's place.
2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
We become brand NEW! Isn't that exciting! All those sins that we piled up for years are wiped out of our lives and we become clean, without sin, just like Jesus was when He walked on the earth as a human. He took on all of those sins as He died. They don't exist anymore. We are FREE!
I am missing something here. Jesus died. He isn't alive now. So what's the gift? Ah, but He is alive and that is the answer. Not only did Jesus die on that cruel cross but He also rose again. At this moment, He is sitting at the right Hand of the Father, talking to Him for us. When you ask Jesus into your heart, God accepts you as part of His family, an adopted sibling to Jesus. He treats you as if you never sinned one time.
What is the end result? Your life. Before you accept Jesus, you are dead spiritually, bound for hell and the lake of fire, home of Satan and the third of angels that fell from heaven with him. God did not make that place for us, but for the devil. Yet, humans are stubborn enough to go there anyway. Our Father is so full of mercy and grace that He gave us an option. We are not puppets dancing on a string. We have choices. The trouble is, we make horrible choices many times. God is asking you to choose Him instead of going to hell.
Remember that rich guy I started this story with? God is that rich guy. He wants to give you a priceless gift, Salvation through Jesus Christ. That is His greatest gift. It's your choice. Should you take the valuable gift or decline because you don't know Him well enough? He is asking you to accept His present. You will never get another like it. God wants you to get to know Him. By taking the gift, the door opens to intimacy with Him. Will you accept His gift now?
Pray with me: God, I know that I have so many things that I have done wrong. Please forgive me. Wash those things far away from me. Make me clean and whole. I ask Jesus, please come into my heart and stay with me always. Be with me and teach me how to live my life for You. Fill me to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit, the One You called my Comforter. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and giving me life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer with me, you just became born again into the family. Angels are singing right now in heaven because a new child is born, YOU! They rejoice over each new creation. The next thing you will want to do is get a Bible, find a good church to attend. There is strength in being around other believers in the Lord. Tell someone what Jesus did for you! And, oh yes, WELCOME TO THE FAMILY!
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...in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them... 2 Cor 5:19
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Excellent, Lura. You have explained the gospel clearly. What I like is you're not afraid to point out the consequence of ignoring this great gift from God.