Saturday, December 24, 2005


All gifts are free

Exhibit A: the man with the white beard and red coat who wags his finger at little boys and girls, saying, "You better be good, for goodness sake, lest you not receive any presents for Christmas!"

Exhibit B: Almighty God, who, looking upon fallen humanity in its wretchedness, chose a people for Himself, giving them a Savior to pay the price for all their sins.

So what's the big difference between God and Mr. Claus? Simply put, the gifts that the guy in the red suit bring are granted based upon human merit, whereas the Gift that God gave in Jesus Christ is based solely upon God's free grace.

The distinction could hardly be greater, but yet how often I have acted as though God was little more than a greater version of Mr. Claus! I've done so whenever I've fancied that I somehow deserve this or that gift. So often I fail to remember the wretched, fallen state I was in when Christ found me out: the state I would be in to this day were it not for His wholly unmerited grace to me. How I dishonor God whenever I think that my good works--filthy rags all--somehow make me more worthy than some other creature to obtain His favor.

This is not to say that I ought not seek God's face to ask Him for the things which I desire, for if I do so with a right attitude and right motives, I will acknowledge my utter dependence upon His grace and favor. The same God who gave me the greatest gift of all--salvation through His only Son--will freely give me all other things, but I must always remember that every favor I enjoy from Him, whether great or small, is a free and gracious gift. Thus, I am left without any cause to boast in God's gifts, with my only proper response to His graciousness being a simple, heartfelt "Thank You!"

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