For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 6:23
Lately, I have been thinking about the word “gift”. I am not sure if you are aware of this, but in most verses – at least all the ones I’ve come across, the word “gift” is used instead of the word “presents”. Up until this point I believed that it was simply two words with one meaning, and for the most part the definition itself is the same for both words, however careful users of the language can make the distinction between both words.
When reading up on the origin and usage of the word “gifts”, although it was defined as “something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone[…]” there was one particular section from all of that which stood out the most. One section began to highlight the difference by saying that a gift “enables the giver to display that the receiver is of great value to them”. In other words, there is a particular worth that the giver sees in the receiver, therefore the gift given to the receiver is an expression of the value and importance the giver sees in the receiver… I hope I haven’t lost you.
It continued by saying that a gift tends to have a greater valuable than a present since it is passed *down* from someone of high power/authority, to one who is low; in other words from a superior to an inferior. While “presents” are informal, and given between equals. Now, as you think about all of that, I want to point out yet something else which was quite interesting. In the Old Testament times it was a gift that was customarily given for the price of a bride, not a present (Genesis 34.12).
Now, let’s go back to the verse posted above. “The wages of sin is death, but THE GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” What is this gift that God has given freely in place of a punishment? His son, Jesus Christ. Some of you reading this may think “tell me something I don’t know”, and that kind of thinking is a problem. We think we have familiarized ourselves with this gift so well, while in reality our minds have not even fully comprehended the price that was paid for us. We have lost touch with the real meaning of salvation, and have forgotten the price of the cross.
“The wages of sin is death” – let’s pause there for a second. For every time you lied, cheated, verbally offended someone, lusted, betrayed, gossiped, mistreated someone, disobeyed.. etc. the price of that was death. Yet in place of that punishment God gave you a gift – not just a present but a gift. One that symbolized your worth to Him despite your failures, and imperfections. There are many people out there who are convinced that God only loves those who are “pure” and “perfect”, when the truth actually is that His greatest and most treasured gift was given to those who are the exact opposite of “pure” and “perfect”. He saw your worth even when you didn’t see it within yourself, and chose to love you unconditionally. So much so, that He gave you an eternal gift – his son Jesus.
So this week, as Easter approaches I would like to challenge those of faith, and those who aren’t, to think about the gift of the cross. A God full of power and glory, humbly came down to earth and hung himself on a cross for you, this why it’s a gift and not just a present, because He paid a price for you. He was not forced, and He did not do it for a “certain group/type” of people. He gave this gift to all of humanity, and He did so willingly out of His great love. This wasn’t some equal exchange between you and God where you gave God something in return for His sacrifice. In fact, there is nothing you could ever give back to God that will make the gift of salvation an equal exchange – this will always remain a gift … a gift from Him to you.
See you next Monday!