Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

Dear Sinners and Saints,

Have you ever bought yourself a gift? I remember several Christmas seasons ago. I went to the electronics store, bought the thing I wanted, wrapped it, and put it under the tree. When I opened it, I said, “Wow! Just what I always wanted!!!”  But, was that really a gift? No. It wasn’t. I bought it with money I set aside. It wasn’t given to me – it was given by me. I bring that up because, one of Paul’s most recognized passages hits on this idea.

Many have heard and recognize Paul’s passage in Romans describing the difference between purchase and gift. He writes, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23) A wage is something we earn. I worked to earn the money I set aside for that Christmas “gift”. I earned it. Paul also writes, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) So, we’ve all earned the wages of sin – death. But, God, in His infinite mercy, despite what we’ve earned, gives each of us a true gift – the opposite of death! He gives us eternal life. Free of cost to us. It’s there for the taking. All we need to do is pick it up, open it, take it, and use it. Forgiveness.

Actually, this gift might be free to us; but there’s, “No such thing as a free lunch.” Somebody paid for our gift. Jesus Christ, paid the price for the gift of our forgiveness and eternal life by dying on the Cross. Free to us – yes. But, not free. God, in His love, gives this gift to all who believe in Jesus. 

And He desires for us to pick this gift up and use it. He desires that we forgive as we’ve been forgiven. Showing the love of God for us to others, so they might also accept the gift purchased for us by Jesus’ precious blood and join us in eternal life.

                                                                                        Your Fellow Sinner and Saint,

                                                                                        Pastor Jim