Remembering God’s Gift

Matthew 1:21 (ESV)

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

As we enter into the gift-giving season of Christmas, I think it appropriate to reflect back on God’s Gift to us all—the gift of salvation and what that means for us.

We are reminded that salvation is something we can never accomplish on our own. Jesus means “savior”. He came to earth to save us because we cannot save ourselves from sin and its consequences. No matter how good we are, we cannot eliminate the sinful nature present in all of us, and thus are under God’s wrath on our own. Only Jesus can save us from God’s holy wrath, not by giving us the power to do so ourselves; but to take our place and bear the penalty of our sins. Thank Christ for His death on the cross for your sin and mine; and ask Him to take control of your life, for this is your acceptable service (Romans 12:1).

Through the salvation we have been given by Christ’s atoning work, we recognize this salvation as an assurance of God’s presence within us. When Isaiah prophesied about our Savior being called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14), he spoke of Jesus as God in the flesh who dwelt among us (John 1:14). Now, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, Christ is present today with us in the life of every believer. Immanuel indeed.

Salvation points us to the narrow road and the gate upon which to enter (Matthew 7:14; John 10:9). While not difficult to enter, it proves too challenging for many to find because of their unbelief. Few will choose to believe John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 because of the undue accountability required to take up one’s cross and follow Him daily. Wide indeed is Satan’s gate and the road that leads to destruction and those who refuse to bow down before Jesus Christ will bear such a fate (Matthew 7:13).

There is no middle ground. God has made salvation available to all who will confess Jesus as Lord. No good deeds, acts of kindness, or being of good moral character will earn this salvation—only accepting the blood of Jesus Christ will one obtain the free gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). If you adhere to other religions and lead a good moral life, God's Word makes it clear you will perish all the same. Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation and eternal life.

When we accept this free gift it comes at a cost—and a commitment. We must turn from our sins and trust God completely. We must endeavor to show a life transformed by the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in service to others; a faith that is active and outreaching, not one dormant and inwardly focused (James 2:17).

This season, thank God for His gift to us. Recite and pray John 3:16 and strive to not just know of Jesus and the gift of salvation, but strive to really know Him—through a deep and personal relationship bathed in frequent and humble prayer. Yes, study your Bible and learn from the Word. But go beyond mere knowledge of verses.

Let us truly abide in Him in adoration for the Gift we have received.