The Greatest Gift :: by Grant Phillips

The greatest gift that could be given to anyone at any time is the gift of spiritual re-birth and eternal life in Jesus. It is also the most expensive for the Giver.

Even before our original parents, Adam and Eve, fell prey to the Serpent’s wiles, God knew that his creation would sin against Him. Unlike Adam and Eve, in their innocence, He knew all the ramifications involved and the extent their fall would have upon mankind all down through the corridors of time, to the last person born on earth. God knew the effects sin would have upon the world, and it hasn’t been pretty. One may wonder why God even bothered to create us, when we consider the price He paid to redeem us (Christians).

Sin has brought with it, death, sickness, murder, rape, theft, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bestiality, pedophiles, abuse, pride, fear, doubt, selfishness, hate, greed, worry, wars upon wars, and the list just goes on and on. Sin has turned the beauty of this earth into a wasteland of rebellion against the Creator. It has affected not only mankind, but even the animal life and nature itself. No turn can be made to avoid the far reaching death grip that sin has upon this earth. God knew that all His creation would be tainted, no, saturated with the evils of sin’s effects. Yet, He allowed it, because He was already at work in providing a special gift that would restore everything back to the pure, unadulterated original. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

Satan, Lucifer, the Devil, Beelzebub whatever you choose to call him, actually started this whole mess. If we really want to blame someone, here is where the accusing finger should point. He had it all, but wasn’t satisfied. He wants to be God, but he is not even a god. He is a fallen angel with a bad attitude. Only Satan could take something that is pure and clean, and contaminate it to the point of being unrecognizably filthy. Mankind now does the same, when their father is the Devil himself. Don’t think so? Consider a man, or woman, who would steal the innocence of a child for instance. That is nothing but Satanic.

The color of sin is black, in that it has deceived and blackened the hearts of mankind. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) It is also red, in that it has spilled blood from the time of Cain. “And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” (Genesis 4:8) It has brought nothing but death and destruction as it has pillaged the hearts and minds of mankind and ravaged the earth.

Not one progeny of Adam has dodged the darts of sin. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23) Alas, it is embedded within our souls from the time we are conceived. “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalms 51:5) We wrestle with it from cradle to grave (Romans 7). Many just succumb to its poisonous fangs and give in to its alluring call, ignoring the judgment it brings down upon us all. “For the wages of sin is death; but (emphasis mine) the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

I’ve said all this in order that we could get a glimpse of our hopeless situation under the iron boot of Satan and his companion, sin. However, notice that small, three-letter word in the previous verse quoted … “but.” It is cause for jubilation! Why is that? The word “but” is a conjunction in the sentence structure. More importantly, it is a conjunction of contrast, simply meaning that what is said after the word “but” will be the exact opposite of what was said before it. Before, it says, “For the wages of sin is death.” Afterward, it says, “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Sin condemns us with death, spiritually and physically, but faith in Jesus Christ frees us with eternal life!

Since we are born in sin and live in sin, we cannot conquer sin. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10) The good news is that even though we cannot be experientially (daily living) perfect, we can be positionally (the cross of Christ) perfect. Every man, woman and child sins: Christians and non-Christians. However, Christians can point to the cross of Jesus. The non-believer cannot.

The sacrifices of the Old Testament pointed toward the sacrifice of the New Testament. Whether the sacrifice in the Old Testament was a young bull, a lamb, a red heifer, God required the animal sacrifice to meet certain specifications, and one of those specifications was always that it be without spot. Jesus was without spot. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14) “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” (1 Peter 1:19) Jesus, the Son of God, was sinless. Even corrupt Pilate said he found no fault in Him (John 18:38; John 19:4, 6)

Therefore, Jesus took our judgment of sin upon Himself. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9:28)

By His own choice, He paid the price to redeem us (buy us back) and give us eternal life. The greatest gift provider is Jesus Christ the Son of God. The greatest gift giver is God our Creator. If all that we know about Jesus and all that He has said is not true, then we have no hope, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Corinthians 15:19) But we know that His Word is true, if it just be by the evidence in our own heart. For those who will come to the Lamb of God, He will freely give eternal life.

Grant Phillips