Grace the Ultimate Gift…
Grace existed in the Old Testament.
To say that people were saved by the Law in the Old Testament and we are saved by grace in the New Testament is incorrect. The Law was revealed in the Old Testament and was necessary to bring man to an understanding that he was a sinner.
However, it was God's grace that first chose the Jewish nation and gave them the Law. That same grace sent Jesus and the Holy Spirit, established the church, preached the gospel and will resurrect the faithful in the end.
The people who were saved in the Old Testament were saved by grace through faith in the same way we are today. Their sins were sent forward to the cross for atonement and ours are sent back to the cross for the same atonement. They expressed their faith according to the teachings of Moses (circumcision, temple worship, food laws, etc.); we express our faith according to the teachings of Christ (baptism, worship, evangelism, etc.). They looked forward to the time when God would send a savior to save them from sin (their lives were based on the trust that He would one day do this); we look forward to the time when the savior will return and save us from the second death (our lives are based on the hope of our resurrection).
But from the very beginning, everything God did was based on grace, and all who were saved, before the cross or after the cross were saved by grace through faith. This has always been the method, this has always been the plan.
In the New Testament God revealed perfectly the plan and the person who would accomplish it, Jesus Christ. This is the main difference.
The embodiment of the gift of grace is Jesus Christ who accomplishes salvation for us. Grace (salvation through Christ, obtained by faith) is a gift because we cannot earn it nor do we deserve it.
- We are Christians. We are not sinless Christians, but we are faithful ones.
Because of grace, God allows us to have a relationship with Him based on our faith rather than our perfection. This is His precious gift to us.
Someone might say, "What would Jesus want or need for Christmas?" The Lord doesn't really need anything, surely no "thing" made in this world (which He created – Colossians 1:16). But if I chose to give Him gifts of some kind, gifts of value and meaning, then here are three that I would put under the tree for Him:
Gift #1 - A Life of Faith
My life of faith can be an amazing gift to my Lord because it stands out so remarkably from the disbelief of this world. It sparkles and shines brightly next to the despair, discouragement, and darkness around it. It honors the Lord like the gold of the Magi honored Him because it acknowledges Him as our King, our Lord, our God – not the powers of this world. Matthew 2:11
Gift #2 - Commitment
Our love for God is demonstrated by our level of commitment to worshiping and serving Him.. We have endless opportunities to be a servant to our Lord. 2 Corinthians 4:5
Gift #3 - A Conscious Confession of Christ
Every time we share our faith, invite someone to church, teach someone the gospel, have a Bible study, help those in needs, we offer the gift of conscious confession to Christ. The beauty of this gift is that each time we offer it to someone, we give it to Christ – no matter how the person reacts. The value of this gift is that it has the power to multiply into countless gifts of praise and thanksgiving by those who are saved because of our witness. All glory to the God. 1 Timothy 1:17
These are gifts worthy of the One who saved our souls from eternal death.
Maybe after having blessed us with all that we have at this time of year, I wonder if the Lord is disappointed that we offer Him so little in return, in gratitude. So by all means, don't be afraid to enjoy this season in good conscience because it all comes from God and He is the one from whom all blessings flow. James 1:17
Just want to make sure that if you wanted to offer the Lord a gift that would truly be pleasing to Him – you'd know what to shop for!
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
2 Corinthians 13:14