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Your Gift

If you are reading this post, please know that the gift of Jesus Christ that I and so many others are celebrating this Christmas is just as much for you as anyone else. Jesus Christ was born to a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a gruesome death on the cross, and rose again on the third day so that you, a sinner like the rest of us, could find forgiveness of sin, escape the unavoidable penalty for that sin, and be brought once and for all into perfect fellowship with the Heavenly Father, who loves you more than you can possibly imagine.

Now, you don’t have to accept God’s gift of salvation any more than my neighbors have to open the tin of fudge that I left on their porch, but understand that your choice not to receive this gift does not make the gift any less real or the consequences for rejecting it any less disastrous.

The harsh reality is that those who reject God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ will ultimately spend eternity separated from God in Hell, not because God is mean, but because He is Holy and cannot have fellowship with that which is not. Please hear me. God does not push us away from Him; sin pulls us away from Him and holds us captive.

God is the hero, not the bad guy. He loves you and is reaching out to you to pull you across the deep chasm created by your sin. He doesn’t want to be separated from you any more than you want to be separated from Him, but He simply cannot deny His own holiness or become less than He is. If He did, we’d all be lost. Instead, He gave His only Son to pay the price for your sin so that He could close the gap, adopt you as a full son or daughter, and make you a joint heir with Jesus to His Kingdom.

All you have to do is say, “Yes.” If you want to be set free from the sin that is holding you prisoner and be adopted into God’s family forever, all you have to do is admit that you have sin in your life—we all do, you know—ask God to forgive your sin and wipe it away, and make Him the boss of your life now and forever. That’s it!

Now, salvation is a free gift in that there is no possible way that we could ever cover the cost for our sin, but God does require full surrender from those who would enjoy that gift. If you aren’t ready to bend your knee and surrender your will to His as you find it in Scripture, then you aren’t ready to become a Christian. Don’t say words you don’t mean. God can’t be fooled, and insincere words don’t count for anything.

When you are ready and you do surrender your life to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit will come to live in your heart and begin to change the way that you think and feel and act. If you listen closely, He’ll whisper to your heart and help you understand the Bible, guiding you, comforting you, warning you, and correcting you as you need it. You’ll need it, believe me!

You see, God begins perfecting us when we surrender to Him, but the project isn’t scheduled for completion until we get to Heaven. As long as we are stuck here on earth, we will keep making mistakes and doing things that don’t bring honor to God even as we grow and mature. When we do, it makes it hard for us to hear the Holy Spirit talk to us, so it’s important that we get that sin confessed, forgiven, and out of there so we can hear God better. Understand that the sin that you commit after becoming a Christian doesn’t cancel your adoption into God’s family or anything; it just makes it hard to hear and obey God and makes you feel gross and far away from God even though He never moved.

The more we pray, the more we read the Bible, the more we act on the things that God is telling us to do, the deeper our relationship with God grows and the more satisfied we become with what we have through Jesus Christ. When you get to know Jesus, it hurts to remember what it was like to be separated from Him, and you want nothing more than for those struggling on the other side of the divide to find their way across.

That’s where I find myself today, friend. More than anything, I just want you to find your way across. I want you to stop looking for a hero among the flawed, stop assuming things about God that aren’t true, stop trying to jump the chasm on your own and falling short, and stop assuming that you have all the time in the world to decide what to do with Jesus.

Now, I’m not promising that becoming a Christian will make your life easier. Depending on your situation, it might even make life harder for you, but I know from experience that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will give you peace, hope, purpose, and eternal security in the midst of life’s storms.

You can live a good life and be a kind, generous, thoughtful, and productive person without Jesus, but you can’t find peace or get to Heaven without Him. Please, please accept the gift!  It’s yours for the taking. 

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