Christmas Gifts and the Gift of Salvation

One year as my family and I were sitting around the dinner table, basking in post-Christmas glow, one of my boys remarked, “I got all of my presents because I was good this year.” My wife and I both sensed a teaching moment. Turning to him, I said, “You didn’t get your Christmas presents this year because you were good. In fact, if we took a gift away every time you didn’t listen to us or disobeyed what we said in this past year, you wouldn’t have any gifts left. You got those gifts because Mommy and Daddy love you, and we want you to have fun and enjoy good things.” My wife agreed and said, “I know you’ve been seeing a lot of Christmas movies that say that you get presents because you are good, but that’s not how presents work.”

As I thought about this conversation later, it struck me that the way that my son viewed his Christmas presents that day is the way that some people view salvation and other gifts of God. They think they are blessed because they are good. The fact is though that like Christmas presents, God’s gifts can’t be bought by goodness but are rather given freely because of His love. If we tried to buy the presents that God freely gives, each of us would find his or her bank account hopelessly overdrawn, as the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23a), and all have sinned (3:23). The beauty of God is that He paid the price for our sin (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:17-19) and then granted us the beautiful gift of salvation (Romans 6:23b).

There are also a lot of people in the world who believe that you get to go to Heaven if you are a basically good person. However, the Bible describes Heaven as God’s House (John 14:2). Do you invite every basically good person to come live with you in your house? No, the house is for family members, and those whom we have determined to treat as family. No one can force us to open our homes to them through any amount of goodness; it remains our choice to let them in. Likewise, no one will find themselves in the house of God through their goodness, but through God’s will (Romans 9:15-16). Thankfully, there’s no mystery about God’s will; He chooses to invite into His house those who are “in Him,” that is, in Jesus (Ephesians 1:4). Those in Jesus are those who have been allowed to put Him on in baptism through faith (Galatians 3:26-27), having been born into God’s family through water and the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-5).

Going back to that dinner table scene, after my wife finished talking, I added, “Now, there are things that you could do that would cause Mommy and Daddy to take away your presents. You can lose them by being bad, but you didn’t earn them by being good.” Once again, the same thing is true of the precious gifts of God. The Hebrews writer compared Christians to the children of Israel who lost the gift of Canaan because of unbelief (Hebrews 3:7-19). His warning echoes to us today: “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12).

I truly hope each holiday season you have is a happy time surrounded by friends and family. But I hope even more that you are currently enjoying salvation and the other gifts God gives to those in His family. Further, I hope that each person in God’s family will remember that all we have has been given to us because of God’s love and that all that we do ought to be done to return that love as best as we can, not to attempt to earn God’s gifts.
-Patrick Swayne  
patrick@tftw.org
Tagged with , ,

Recent

Archive

 2023
 2022

Categories

Tags

1 Corinthians 12 1 Corinthians 14:15 1 Corinthians 14 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 1 Corinthians 7 1 Peter 1:6-12 1 Peter 3 1 Peter 5:6-7 1 Peter 1 Samuel 4 1 Thessalonians 5:18 2 Corinthians 6 2 Kings 2 Peter 2 2 Peter 3 2 Peter 2 Samuel Abel Absalom Acts 17 Acts 19 Acts 2 Acts 8 Acts Alcohol Alleged Contradictions Apostles Ark of the Covenant Attitude Authority Autonomy Autumn Balance Baptismal Regeneration Baptism Barnabas Benevolence Bible Contradictions Bible Questions and Answers Bible Study Bible Biblical Interpretation Bishop Cain and Abel Cain Calvinism Challenges Children Christian Living Christmas Church Funds Church Leadership Church Membership Church Citations Colossians 3:16 Communication Communion Community Confidence Congregations Contend for the Faith Contentment Covetousness Creation Current Events Dating David Debt Forgivness Degrees of Punishment Deliverance Denominationalism Devil Difference Different Discipleship Doctrine Dragon Drinking Easter Ecclesiastes 7:10 Ecclesia Eldership Elders Elder Elijah Elisha Encouragement Enoch Ephesians 2:8-9 Ephesians 5:15 Ephesians 5:16 Ephesians 5:18 Ephesians 5:19 Ephesians 5:5 Ephesians 5 Esther 4:14 Evangelism Ezekiel 36 Ezekiel 6 Faith Alone Faith Only Faithfulness Faith Fall False Teaching Fathers Fear Feeding of the 5000 Fornication Free Will Fundamentals Galatians 4:9-10 Gender Roles Generosity Genesis 4 Genesis Gift of Tongues Gifts Giving Gospel Meeting Gospel Grace Gratitude Greater Sin Grief Grieving Hallelujah Praise Jehovah Hallelujah Help Hermeneutics Holidays Husbands Hymns Idolatry Imperatives Insomnia Instrumental Music Instruments in Worship Intertextuality Isaiah 2 James 1:27 James 1 James Jehovah Witnesses Jehovah Jesus Temptation Jesus' Deity Jesus\' Deity Jesus Job John 11 John 19:11 John Calvin John the Baptist Jude 1:11 Jude 3 Jude Judgement Judging Judgment Kindness Lamech Lazarus Leadership Lemuel Levites Limited Atonement Local Church Lord's Supper Luke 5:1-11 Mark 1:12-13 Mark Marriage Martin Luther Matthew 5:13-16 Matthew 5:3-12 Matthew 5 Matthew 7:1 Melchizedek Men's Business Meeting Men\'s Business Meeting Men\\\'s Business Meeting Men Metaphors Minor Prophets Miracles Miraculous Gifts Mormonism Mothers Mountain of the Lord's House Mountains of Israel Mountains Murder Music Mutual Submission No Elders Once Saved Always Saved Parenting Pastor Pattern Paul Peace Pentecostalism Persecution Perseverence Perspective Philippians 4:6 Plagiarism Poetic Language Politics Prayer Praying Pray Preacher Preaching Priesthood Priests Proverbs 31:6 Proverbs Providence Psalm 148 Quotations Reader Response Redeeming the Time Relationships Relationship Religion Remission of Sins Revelation 12:9 Romans 12:10 Romans 12:15 Saints Only Salvation Satan Scarecrows Sermon on the Mount Serving Others Sexual Sin Silence of the Scriptures Singing Sin Sleep Sobriety Song Studies Sons Sovereignty of God Spirit and Truth Spiritual Death Spiritual Gifts Spiritual Leadership Stephen Stress Student Debt Submission Suffering Temptations Thankfulness The Beatitudes The Problem of Pain and Suffering The Problem of Suffering The Way of Cain The Way Tongue Speaking Total Hereditary Depravity Trials Types and Antitypes Uncleanness Unconditional Election Understanding Unknown Tongue William Kirkpatrick Wives Women in the Church Women's Roles Word Study Work Worship Zechariah death sickness