A gift

Don’t we all just love presents and gifts; especially those that we get for no reason. The ones for no reason or just to say, “I love you” are my favorite. My daughters, especially my youngest, like to give coupons for free back rubs and foot massages. Those are some of my favorite to redeem.

There is a gift that I received many, many years ago that is even more precious to me than my sweet daughter’s back rubs and foot massages. It is the gift of eternal life. Ephesians 2:8,9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one may boast.” We must realize that a gift is not something that we work to receive or that we deserve. A gift is something that is given out of love. That is the gift that is mentioned in this verse…the gift of eternal life.

Like a gift that we receive from a person, we must accept it and take it from their possession and receive it into our own possession. So is the gift of God. It says in Ephesians 2:8,9 that it is through faith that we receive this gift. What is it we must have faith in you might want to know. We must believe that Jesus took the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross. Instead of us having to pay the price for our sins, Jesus took the penalty for us and paid it. Now we must accept this gift that God gives us.

How do accept the gift that God hands to us? Picture God handing you a present…a box with a pretty bow. What must you do? You must reach out and take it. It will not become your present unless you accept it. Why must we accept it through faith? We cannot see God handing us this present, nor did we see Jesus die on the cross for our sins. There are many eyewitness accounts of Christ’s death and resurrection, but you did not actually see it. This takes faith. It also takes faith that Jesus actually paid my penalty. This will be another topic to review, but we must stay focused on this verse regarding the gift.

Why must we accept this gift with nothing required but faith? That is the only way that God wants it done. He does not want man to boast in himself. Many people think they are good enough to get to heaven, and they have done enough good works to allow them entrance into God’s kingdom, but God’s kingdom, Heaven, does not work that way. God does not want us to boast in ourselves. He realizes that if we boast in ourselves we have committed another sin and that is the sin of selfishness.

We must also consider, “If I am the one that is gaining myself entrance into heaven, how will I know when I am good enough?”  How do you really know? I have read the Bible through and not once does it mention a list of things that I can do in order to gain entrance to Heaven. There is no “Bucket List” to accomplish in order to go to Heaven. The thing that must be done is to accept in faith the gift of God, so you have no reason to boast.

Believe

One of my favorite things to do every day is go for a walk with our dog, Bailey. We go out early in the morning while it is still dark. She spends most of her time sniffing and watching for other animals so she can strain at her leash to see how close I will let her get. I spend most of my time enjoying the quiet time I can have with my God! I pray for requests of those that are in the midst of a health crises, or for my children and the activities in which they are involved, or for God’s plan for my life.

I know that someday when God says it is time for me to be done here on this earth; He will take me to Heaven to be with Him. Maybe you are wondering how I know for a fact that I will be in Heaven. I know because I read about it in the Bible. Of course, as with any other part of our lives there are certain necessary steps that must be taken in order to know for sure that you are going to Heaven.

If you went to college you remember that there were requirements in order to enter. This is no different with God. However, the requirements are not that hard, nor are they that difficult to understand.

Let’s look at the Bible and see what it tells us about these requirements. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This verse tells us that we have all sinned. The first step is to admit that you are a sinner. I think most if not all people would admit to doing something wrong. This wrong is called sin.

Romans 6:23 tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Since we all are sinners there must be a wage that is paid for our sin. We could also call this wage a penalty for our sin. Whenever someone does something wrong they must pay the penalty for their wrongdoing. So a sinner must pay the penalty for his sin. This penalty or wage is death, but this is not just physical death it is also spiritual death. Spiritual death is being separated from God forever. Due to our sin,we must pay the price for our sin.

The last part of Romans 6:23 tells us that there is a way out of this spiritual death, this separation from God forever. The way is Jesus. God will give us the gift of eternal life, or not being separated from God for forever, but we must do a few things.

First, we must admit that we are sinners. Second we must understand that there is nothing in and of ourselves that can save us from the everlasting curse of sin. There is nothing that we can do to merit being in God’s presence, EXCEPT believe in our hearts that Jesus took the penalty for our sin.

Romans 5:8 tells us”But God demonstrated His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ Died for us.”  Christ died on the cross for our sins to take the penalty for our sins. Instead of me having to pay my own penalty and my own punishment, God provided a way for me to escape eternal separation from Him.

There are many more verses to discuss regarding this topic, but I would like to conclude this with Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”