1. Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
grace, grace, God’s grace,
grace that is greater than all our sin!
People love to receive presents, especially good ones that are useful, and that reveal how the giver put forth some thought and effort into the purchase.
In the Bible we are continuously told of the best and most beneficial gift of all.
Many will seek the favor of a [a]generous person,
And every person is a friend to him who gives gifts. (Proverbs 19:6 NASB)
12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; 13 moreover, that every person who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it. And God has so worked, that people will [a]fear Him. (Ecclesiastes 3:12-14)
7 “[a]Ask, and it will be given to you; [b]seek, and you will find; [c]knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what person is there among you [d]who, when his son asks for a loaf of bread, [e]will give him a stone? 10 Or [f]if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 So if you, despite being [g]evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:7-11 NASB)
The Apostle Paul proclaimed, “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b)!
God offers to everyone, without exception, the free gift of eternal life, and the free gift of His grace to make the choice to walk in, experience spiritual victory.
Even so, there are those individuals who have refused eternal life in the Son; and there are even those within the body of Christ who are not abiding in their God-given freedom.
The reason why some people are not living in victory is because they have not yet understood or received God’s grace.
Those who have not fully received His grace are walking about in judgment and condemnation.
For the “unbeliever” who has not accepted the gift of God,
he or she is indeed condemned to eternal separation from the Lord.
But your wrongdoings have caused a separation between you and your God,
And your sins have hidden His [a]face from you so that He does not hear. (Isaiah 59:2 NASB)
and a fiery judgment
11 “But when the king came in to look over the [a]dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 12 and he *said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Tie his hands and feet, and throw him into the outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in that place.’ (Matthew 22:11-13 NASB).
The Bible is abundantly clear in this matter.
For the “believer” who has not fully comprehended the gift of God, he or she is living in bondage from a self-imposed form of condemnation or self-reproach.
God offers the free gift of His grace and a complete pardon from sin; however, His gift does no good just sitting there all wrapped up and looking pretty.
God’s gift must be received and opened; and in this devotional message today,
Faithfully, hopefully, prayerfully, Gracefully, our goal is that we are going to come to a more informed understanding of what is entailed in receiving and benefiting from the greatest gift of all time.
Paul Shared God’s Gift of Grace.
Today, we are going to look at some words shared by the Apostle Paul. Paul is someone who felt compelled to emphasize “the free gift of God.”
In both Romans and Ephesians (2:8, 3:7, 4:7) he taught extensively about the gift of God’s grace, for he believed that receiving this gift was essential for redemption unto God and eternal life.
In Romans chapter five, Paul stressed in great detail the significance of what he called “the free gift of God.”
Right now, I want to invite us to brush off the dust on the covers of our bibles, to open them together with me in humble honor of the reading of God’s Word.
Romans 5:15-21 New American Standard Bible
15 But [a]the gracious gift is not like the offense. For if by the offense of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one offense, [b]resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the gracious gift arose from many offenses, [c]resulting in justification. 17 For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
18 So then, as through one offense [d]the result was condemnation to all mankind, so also through one act of righteousness [e]the result was justification of life to all mankind. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20 [f]The Law came in so that the offense would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, so also grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
In this passage Paul emphasized the word “gift” six times.
If we view the original Greek, there are two words from which the English word gift has been translated.
When Paul spoke of the singular word “gift” he used the words dorea or dorema, which are simply translated as gift or bounty.
When he utilized the phrase “free gift” he used the word charisma, which by definition means “a favor with which one receives without any merit of his own,” and “a pardon of sin and eternal salvation.”
Paul also directly mentioned “grace,” and he used the word charis, which means “good will, lovingkindness” and “favor.”
The words for “free gift” (charisma) and “grace” (charis) are interchangeable; therefore, when Paul spoke of the “free gift” (Rom 5:15, 16, 18) he was referring to the free gift of grace.
In Ephesians 3:7, Paul declared, “I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace” (3:7a NIV).
The Bible teaches that God’s grace is a free gift that He offers willingly to those who will freely receive it.
There Is One Who Receives the Gift
The One who offers the gift of grace is God.
The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that he gave . . .” (Jn 3:16).
The Lord “gave” to the world – to each and every person. Love is not so much shown in the words “I love you” as it is demonstrated by action.
John said, “Let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18); he also said,
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
God revealed His love by “sending” or “giving” the gift of His Son “to be the propitiation,” or rather the atoning sacrifice, to pay the penalty for the sins of mankind.
Notice the word used to express the degree and measure of that Love – Agape.
USED THREE TIMES IN THAT SINGLE VERSE!
When Paul declared, “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” in Romans 6:23.
The word “gift” is translated from the Greek word charisma, meaning grace.
The “gift of God” is therefore the “grace of God.” God is the gift giver, and He offers the gift of His grace.
Paul identified the gift as “the grace of God” (Romans 5:15), the “abundance of grace” and “the gift of righteousness” (Romans 5:17).
Grace is the Lord’s gift of righteousness to mankind.
The Bible says that through Jesus all who believe in Him are to become the “righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Therefore, God saw that mankind needed to receive the gift of righteousness.
The Gift Giver Considers the Need
When someone wants to give a gift, then he or she must first consider the need. So, why is an abundance of grace and righteousness necessary for mankind?
Paul spoke of the death, judgment, and condemnation that resulted from the one man’s offense, disobedience and sin.
The “one man” he referred to was Adam (Romans 5:14), the very first man created. If you will recall the biblical account, he and his wife Eve ate of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
God had commanded the man and woman not to eat of this tree, and when they acted in disobedience and ignored God’s commands, sin entered the world.
At that moment they were evicted from paradise and separated from God (cf. Gemesis 2:16-17, 3:1-24).
Adam committed the very first sin in history, and sin has plagued mankind ever since (Romans 5:14).
Adam demonstrated how sin results in death, judgment and condemnation.
Paul said, “Through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation” (Romans 5:18).
When Adam sinned then all mankind became enslaved to sin.
Paul said elsewhere, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
There is not one single person on earth who is without sin (Romans 3:10), and sin results in death. Paul stated, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23);
and the death he referred to was a spiritual death of eternal separation from God in the flames of hell.
Mankind was condemned to death, and the Lord saw that the need was for life.
The Gift Comes with a Price Tag
Every gift comes with a price tag, meaning there is a purchase price to be paid.
Just as sin came through the “one man” Adam, the gift of grace came through the “one Man” Jesus Christ (Romans 5:15, 17-19, 21).
We read that this gift came by way of His “righteous act” (Romans 5:18), or His act of payment.
What was the price for God’s grace and forgiveness to be shown to the world?
In Acts, Paul said that Christ “purchased [us] with His own blood” (20:28).
He also mentioned how “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3),
and that “when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).
Jesus purchased the world’s freedom with His own life.
The story goes,
When Billy Graham was driving through a small southern town, he was stopped by a policeman and charged with speeding.
Graham admitted his guilt but was told by the officer that he would have to appear in court.
The judge asked, “Guilty, or not guilty?”
When Graham pleaded guilty, the judge replied, “That’ll be ten dollars – a dollar for every mile you went over the limit.”
Suddenly the judge recognized the famous minister.
“You have violated the law,” he said. “The fine must be paid – but I am going to pay it for you.”
He took a ten-dollar bill from his own wallet, attached it to the ticket, and then took Graham out and bought him a steak dinner!
“That,” said Billy Graham, “is exactly how God treats repentant sinners!”
The price of your redemption unto God was Jesus’ death. The Bible says that everyone is supposed to die for his or her sins (Romans 6:23);
however, Christ stepped in and took your place in death.
He took the penalty upon Himself, so that those who believe in Him (Romans 10:9) would not have to perish.
In Galatians, Paul said,
“Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Galatians 1:3-4).
Jesus died for all mankind in order that those who choose to believe will have life.
Paul stated that the life he now possessed was “by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
The Receiver Appreciates Its Worth
God has given the free gift of His grace, which is His divine favor and pardon from sin.
Paul declared, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
In order to receive this gift, you must first appreciate its worth.
What did it cost? It cost God His one and only Son.
John said, “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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
The forgiveness of sin is impossible to earn.
It could have only come by way of God’s perfect Son.
The Bible further says,
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
You and I must make the sincere effort to realize the cost of our salvation and recognize that the cost is far greater than anything you could pay by yourself.
If you and I believe that you and I can work our way into heaven, then you and I will forever be working and always owing.
Paul said, “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt” (Romans 4:4).
Jerome was a church father who translated the Greek manuscripts into Latin and put the Bible in the language of the people.
He purposefully lived in Bethlehem where Jesus was born.
One night, Jerome had a dream that Jesus visited him.
In the dream, he collected all of his money and offered it to Jesus as a gift.
The Lord said, “I don’t want your money.”
So, Jerome rounded up all of his possessions and tried to give them to Jesus.
The Lord said, “I don’t want your possessions.”
Jerome then recalled the moment in his dream when he turned to Christ and asked, “What can I give you? What do you want?” Jesus simply replied, “Give to me your sin. That’s what I came for; I came to take away your sin.”
The Receiver Recognizes the Sacrifice
In order for us to receive God’s free gift of grace, we must also recognize and acknowledge Jesus’ great sacrifice.
Do you and I truly understand what Jesus did for us, and do you and I know what it is He offers us?
Jesus told the woman at the well,
“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” (John 4:10).
If you and I truly understand the gift of God’s grace, and we realize that Jesus is offering you the gift of Himself and the gift of living water and eternal life,
then we should be unhesitant in receiving this indescribable gift!
You and I should be impossibly eager to take hold of it immediately!
The Receiver Must Unwrap the Gift
Once you and I appreciate the worth and recognize the sacrifice involved in the gift of grace, then you and I must receive it and unwrap it.
Grace will not take effect in your life until it is embraced.
In verse 17, Paul spoke of the need to receive.
“Those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17b).
You and I obtain life in Christ by “receiving” the abundance of His grace; and once you and I have received the gift then you and I must unwrap it.
The Bible shares how to lift the corner of the wrapping paper and open the gift of eternal life.
Romans 10:9-10 says,
“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
When you and I finally recognize the sacrifice of God’s one and only Son who paid the price for your sin, then our understanding must move from the head knowledge unto and into our heart knowledge before grace will take effect.
You and I must not only know in your mind what Jesus did, but you and I must believe and confess with all of your heart that He died for your sin and mine.
God offers you the free gift of His grace this very moment.
He has seen yours and my own futile attempts at becoming right with Him.
The Lord knows you and I are helpless sinners,
and that is why He gave His one and only Son.
Jesus wants to be our atoning sacrifice to step in and pay the price for your sin. He wants to give you the gift of eternal life.
Will you and I genuinely allow Him?
2. Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
threaten the soul with infinite loss;
grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
grace, grace, God’s grace,
grace that is greater than all our sin!
3. Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
brighter than snow you may be today.
4. Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see his face,
will you this moment his grace receive?
In Revelation we read,
“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (22:17 NIV).
If you and I genuinely desire God’s gift of grace and salvation then you and I have to reach out and take it, tear into it with enthusiasm, and unwrap it!
I want to extend Jesus’ invitation to come, and invite you, the reader, to receive the gift of grace, the 100% free gift of salvation from your sins and eternal life.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Heavenly Father, the more I recognise my sinfulness, the more I understand the incredible grace that is being poured out on me and on all humanity. Thank You that the more my sin is exposed, the much more I realize what amazing grace has been bestowed on me – and on all who have trusted Christ for salvation, for the forgiveness of sins, and life everlasting. Thank You in Jesus’ name, AMEN