Church of God in Christ, Mennonite

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11


Is it not God’s love that has provided us the many things that sometimes we take for granted? “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).

The plan God made to give us the gift of salvation is nothing less than perfect. God gave heaven’s best, and Jesus gave His life for us to be saved. It is a gift that is far beyond comparison to anything we can imagine. Without it, there would be no hope.

Do we often think of how Jesus came down to earth and became a sacrifice for our sins? His death and resurrection are the grounds of our salvation. We sometimes feel that we deserve God’s love, but in reality, we have turned our backs on Him. God’s plan for man in the beginning was to serve Him. Then when man decided to serve himself, God’s love went into action. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

When we receive this gift, we must accept the responsibility God gives and turn our backs on the old life. Even though we have freely received salvation, there is a cost in discipleship and a cross to bear. It may seem hard at times to give up our own desires, but God gives grace and a desire to do His will. One requirement to obtain the free gift is to have a living faith which pleases God. God freely forgives us when we have met the conditions.

There are many gifts God gives us, but one of the most important is the Holy Spirit. Wisdom to understand His will is also given to us. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). What a privilege it is that we can go to God and find answers for our lives.

God loves to give good gifts to His children, and He longs for us to accept them gratefully. Most of the time, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are available to us, which God uses to draw us to Himself. Also, what a blessing that most of us have a congregation where we can attend church. After receiving forgiveness for our sins, we can experience His gifts of faith, hope, and charity. A wonderful gift we all appreciate is the peace that passes understanding. Time is another very important gift from God. “All gifts, however excellent, are nothing without charity” (Frank Charles Thomas).

What helps us to grasp the fact that salvation is a gift? The truth is that there is a merciful God waiting to forgive our sins. We lose the vision of fully accepting the truth when we are trying to keep up a good image or reputation. To justify ourselves, we can easily blame others or circumstances. This will hinder us in accepting things we do not understand. Feeling secure living in our own works of righteousness, we may try to find ways to earn our salvation. We should realize that our works are useless without God, and only by His wonderful grace will it be possible to make it to heaven.

A total commitment will cause us to seek the Lord and surrender to His will. With the help of Jesus, there is grace to bear our cross and to be laborers together with Him. A goal that looks impossible to us can be attained by God’s grace and power. “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (Eph. 4:7). Trusting in God, we can have joy surrendering to His will.

When we lose possession of the things of the world and repent of our sins, we will have the abundant life. We must listen for His direction and then be doers, and not forgetful hearers. As we put into practice our commitment and faith in God, we are justified. God blesses us with inner joy when we are obedient, and if it is His will that we suffer for righteousness’ sake, He gives the grace to overcome. There is no greater joy than to know our sins are forgiven and that we have the gift of eternal life. Everyone loves to be given good gifts; let us love the gifts from God the most.

Messenger of Truth, 2017, No. 15