I had a revelation recently that perhaps to others would seem obvious. It was simply that for a gift to truly be a gift it has to cost the person who receives it absolutely nothing. The other side of that simple truth is that the cost of the gift is always borne by the giver. At the time I was thinking of the amazing gift of forgiveness that we receive when we repent of our sins and put our trust in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. We can never earn his forgiveness – it’s a gift that he paid the highest price for with his own precious blood on the cross. The other thing about a gift is that it expresses the value I put on the person I give it to. I love to give gifts to my wife Gemma because it expresses my love for her – it’s a joy to see her blessed as she receives them. If I gave her gifts because it was my duty as a husband it wouldn’t be a true gift, it would be an obligation.
There was no other way that we could be released from the judgement and penalty of sin except through the sacrificial death of Jesus in our place on the cross but he didn’t offer himself to do that just because it was the only way we could be saved – he did it out of his amazing love for each one of us. Psalm 40 verses 6-8 speaks prophetically of Jesus taking on our humanity and coming as the Lamb of God to die for our sins. In verse 8 we read his declaration, ‘I delight to do your will, O my God’.
As we think of Jesus enduring the unimaginable suffering and cruelty of the cross some of us might respond by hanging our heads in shame thinking that he would say to us, ‘Look you miserable sinners how much I’m suffering on your behalf’. Perhaps rather, he would want us to hear him saying to each one of us, ‘Yes, this is the only way that the price of your sin can be paid so that you can be reconciled to God, but I do it because you are so precious and valued by my Father and myself – I delight to do this for you so that you can spend eternity with us.’
As Christmas approaches and we rejoice afresh in God’s inexpressible gift of his only begotten Son Jesus, we can respond to his amazing love by offering him afresh the gift of our hearts and lives. It may be costly for us to bring him that gift but it is the one that will bless him more than any other.
Prayer: "What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb. If I were a wise man, I would do my part; yet what can I give him? – Give my heart!" (Christina G. Rossetti)
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