God’s Free Gift

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NLT)
Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master. (The Message)

God has so many blessings for us as Christians

Forgiveness of sins

Life instead of death

Freedom instead of slavery to sin

Life in all its fullness here and now

The Happy Certainty of Heaven

The Holy Spirit living inside us

Being God’s children

Being part of God’s family

Access to God through prayer

And all of these blessings are God’s FREE GIFT to us as Christians.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no-one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Reasons we find it hard to accept God’s gift
We think that things that are free aren’t worth having

Debate “the best things in life are free”
We tend to think that things that are free are cheap and not worth having- the throwaway plastic gifts in the cornflakes packets of life.
But God’s gifts are always worth having!

Pretty amazing grace is what You showed me
pretty amazing grace is who You are
I was an empty vessel You filled me up inside
and with amazing grace restored my pride

Pretty amazing grace is how You saved me
and with amazing grace reclaimed my heart
love in the midst of chaos calm in the heat of war
showed with amazing grace what love was for

You forgave my insensitivity and my attempt to then mislead You
You stood beside a wretch like me
Your pretty amazing grace was all I needed.

Came to You with empty pockets first
when I returned I was rich man
didn’t believe love could quench my thirst
but with amazing grace You showed me that it can

You overcame my loss of hope and faith
gave me a truth I could believe in
You led me to a higher place
showed Your amazing grace when grace was what I needed

Reasons we find it hard to accept God’s gift
We know we don’t deserve it!

Eph 2:1 ¶ As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

The Bible tells us what we know in our hearts to be true. Without God we are all dead in our sins, running away from God, led astray by the ways of the world and by the Evil One, the Tempter, the devil. This is true of ALL of us, living to satisfy our sinful nature and following its desires instead of pursuing God. Because of our sins we all face God’s judgement – we are all objects of (God’s) wrath. We are rightly judged to be guilty and deserving to pay the penalties for our sins.

Without God we are lost. Not just lost like you’ve missed your turning and you have to turn round and go back and take the right road. Not even lost like you’re up a mountain and you can’t find the way down, because usually when you are up a mountain most ways down will get you to the bottom. Lost like you’ve crash landed in the middle of the jungle and you don’t need to decide which path you want to take because there aren’t any paths – and those lions over there are looking rather hungry. That kind of lost.

Without God we are lost and we are doomed. Doomed! Up the creek without a paddle. Drifting in your canoe where there’s no point in trying to swim for the shore because if the crocodiles don’t get you the hippo’s will. And you are drifting faster and faster towards the edge of the waterfall crashing down over the cliff. That kind of doomed. Only much much worse.

But here’s the GOOD news!!!
Eph 2:4. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

We were dead because of sin. But Jesus has died for our sins on the cross. As we share in His death our sins are forgiven. But even more than that! We were dead– but God has brought us to life with Christ! We are raised up with Him and seated in heavenly places! We share Christ’s resurrection life, eternal life, life in all its fullness! That’s grace. Getting the punishment we deserve for our sins would be justice! Being spared that punishment which we deserve would be mercy. But sharing the benefits of Christ’s glorious resurrection, receiving blessing upon blessing, that’s grace!

We know we don’t deserve any of those blessings. In our hearts we confess that “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God – there is none who is righteous, no not one!”
Reasons we find it hard to accept God’s gift
We like to think we can earn anything we need

I read about an instant cake mix that was a big flop. The instructions said all you had to do was add water and bake. The company couldn’t understand why it didn’t sell—until their research discovered that the buying public felt uneasy about a mix that required only water. Apparently people thought it was too easy. So the company altered the formula and changed the directions to call for adding an egg to the mix in addition to the water. The idea worked and sales jumped dramatically.
That story reminds me of how some people react to the plan of salvation. To them it sounds too easy and simple to be true, even though the Bible says, “By grace you have been saved through faith.; it is the gift of God, not of works” (Eph. 2:8-9). They feel that there is something more they must do, something they must add to God’s “recipe” for salvation. They think they must perform good works to gain God’s favor and earn eternal life. But the Bible is clear—we are saved, “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy” (Titus 3:5).

In most religions there is a cost – so sometimes people think there should be a cost in Christianity too.
The article stated, “A West German businessman has completed his conversion to the Hindu faith by piercing himself through the cheeks with a 1/4-inch thick, 4- foot-long steel rod, and pulling a chariot for 2 miles by ropes attached to his back and chest by steel hooks. Others walk through 20- foot-long pits of fire, don shoes with soles made of nails, or hang in the air spread-eagle from hooks embedded in their backs.”

The truth is we can never earn or deserve the blessing God gives us! Never ever!
“Grace is everything, for nothing, for those who don’t deserve anything.”!
Like for the thief who died on the cross next to Jesus.

LUKE 23:39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.
Reasons we find it hard to accept God’s gift
We don’t like to be in anybody’s debt

The story has been told of a wealthy man who became a Christian. He tried to reach his friends for Christ and told them, with tremendous enthusiasm, what had happened to him, how the Lord had changed his whole life and even saved his marriage. But he found that his words seemed to fall on deaf ears. His friends were not interested.
Since this man had great wealth, he developed a plan that would use this wealth to reach his friends. First he wrote out a check for a million dollars, which everyone knew he would easily be good for. He then visited his friends in turn and said, “I have always highly regarded you as a friend and have wanted to do something for you. Would you receive this check as a gift from me?”
People would look at the check and, when they saw the amount of it, they would hand it back and say, “I can’t take that from you.” He tried to give the check to many of his friends, but no one would take it, although it was a valid and sincere offer. Finally the man realized that people are not willing to receive great gifts without having some part in it.

John 8:7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no-one condemned you?”
11 “No-one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

There is nothing we can do to earn or deserve God’s wonderful salvation! All we have to do is accept it!

Reasons we find it hard to accept God’s gift
It seems too good to be true – where’s the catch???

There is no catch. Only grace. The Free gift of God! Grace that welcomes back that wasteful prodigal son. Grace that welcomes a slave trader like John Newton, and tax collectors like Matthew and Zacchaeus, and thieves like the man who hung on his own cross alongside Jesus. Grace that welcomes sinners of all kinds, prostitutes and murderers and drunks, “scumbags, every one”. Even miserable sinners like you and me!

A young man came forward in a Gospel meeting, earnestly asking, “What can I do to be saved?” The Counsellor replied to the anxious inquirer, “You’re too late!” “Oh, don’t say that,” the distressed seeker cried, “I really want salvation; I’d do anything or go anywhere to obtain it.” “I’m sorry,” replied the other, “you’re too late for that. Your salvation was completed many hundreds of years ago at Calvary. It’s finished work! All you have to do is simply receive Christ. Then the blessed gifts He offers will become yours. At last the young man found peace by realizing that his great debt was paid by Christ.

A young boy had just given his life to Jesus and sat on a bench next to old man who looked upset. The little boy said to the man, “Sir, do you need to get saved?”
The man replied, “I’ll tell you I’ve been a Sunday School teacher and a youth leader and Deacon in this church for over 30 years!”
The little boy responded, “Sir, it doesn’t matter what you done, Jesus still loves you and He’ll still save you!”

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NLT)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no-one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

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