What is the greatest gift of all? Well a really great gift is when you get something that you need or want without asking for it. But even better than that is when you are given a gift that you need AND you don’t deserve it.
But the greatest gift of all is the one that God gives to mankind for He has given us something that we both need and want, something that we do not deserve and something that we cannot get except as a gift from God. He has given us the gift of life. Not just life now but the offer of life with Him into eternity.
And the best part about this gift is that we did not deserve it and yet God still saw fit to give it to us. What we see in these scriptures is how great a gift this is, what sacrifice had to made to give it to us and the great love that God had for man in t.he hope that man would seek His gift and Him with it.
Man was in dire straits. Because man sinned and continued to live in sin he became an enemy of God.
We see in the first chapter of Romans that man was so far gone in sin and so full of sin that God gave up on mankind. And it was not the first time He gave up on man either.
At the time of Noah God was prepared to wipe man off the face of the earth and had Noah not been righteous in Gods eyes there would have been no survivors. Again when Moses led the people out of Egypt God was prepared to wipe them out and start again with the descendants of Moses because the children of Israel were so disobedient to God and rejected Him again and again as they journeyed in the wilderness.
But we are fortunate that God relented and had compassion and patience enough to carry on with His master plan for mankind.
But because God gave up on man, if He was to help man then He needed to establish a way for man to come into a place where man was able to be helped. God had to establish a method for man to be released from sin which continued to weigh him down so that God could remove that barrier and step in to help man be reconciled and restored to be with God.
The only thing that pays the debt for sin is death. Under the law God established that a man who sinned could be forgiven his sin by the sacrifice of an animal on the altar.
The reason why a death had to occur was because we earn the right to die because we sin. During our lives we build up a debt of sin each time we break God’s law. Death is the payment for sin and when we die the debt of sin is cancelled.
But it would be no good for God to allow man to die before He was prepared to help him. So God used the principle He had established in the sacrifices and offerings under the law and provided a better sacrifice. He offered His only begotten Son in the person of Jesus Christ to be the offering for all of mankind who come to Him in faith.
Jesus is the sacrifice. Jesus becomes the payment for our debt of sin when we take on His death as our own, which we do by being baptised into the death of Jesus. It is Hos blood offered on the altar before God that releases us from sin, sets us free from the law and allows God to deem us as righteous by faith when we believe what Jesus has done for us.
This is indeed the greatest gift of all. Without this offering of Jesus’ blood and the way He established according to the plan of God, we would all be destined to eternal doom and destruction.
One other aspect of this section of scripture is the nature of God’s perfect timing. Paul alludes to this timing but does not go into detail, however it is worth mentioning.
God had a plan for the creation and for man and all that He did and is still doing. He set the plan in place and showed us His plan from the beginning, which we see in the first few chapters of Genesis. But not only did He establish the plan, He set in place the timing for when each element and aspect of His plan would be rolled out right from the beginning and it is still flowing according to His plan today.
What Paul alludes to in these scriptures is the timing of God’s plan for the salvation of mankind through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Paul uses these words:
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die- 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Note in verse 6 he says that “at the right time” Christ died for the ungodly. What time was it when Christ died?
At that time we see that the law had been in place for some four hundred years or so and it was solidly entrenched in the day to day lives of the Jews. Israel had already split into the northern and southern kingdoms and the law was basically still only being followed strictly by the southern kingdom who were the Jews consisting of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and half the tribe of Levi.
But the Jews had become legalistic and the priests were not using the law properly but were using it to gain power over the people rather than to teach, instruct and help them. Sin was reigning in Israel and the processes being employed by the leaders and the priests of the Jews did not and would not provide the relief the people needed.
Thus the old covenant was breaking down, not because there was anything wrong with the law or the covenant, but because man and specifically the Jews were not using it in accord with the will of God.
It was time for a change and for a better way to be introduced. It was also prophesied in the old covenant that this change was coming and that a better way was coming that would be open to all mankind, not just the select few from Israel. With the breakdown of the old covenant it was at that time that Christ came into the world to introduce the new covenant and to establish a perfect way for all mankind to be able to stand in the presence of God.
So we see that the time was ripe for a change and at that time Jesus was born into the world to teach us the ways of God and to open the door into the kingdom of God for all mankind. Through Jesus we received the greatest gift of all. We received the ability to become the children of God and the opportunity to receive eternal life with God through the gift of Jesus Christ. There is no better gift that can be given and it is there for all.
(Picture sourced from stock.xchng taken by Natalia Pankova)
You might also like:
Anointing Of Jesus
The Christian Value Proposition
The Measure You Give Will Be The Measure You Get Back
Ask And It Will Be Given You
Do You Give Expecting To Get
Giving For Jesus
God Gives Good Gifts
The Holy Spirit
Bearing Witness To Jesus
Speaking In Tongues
Promise Of Salvation
Taught By Jesus
Christian Giving Vs Tithing
Sharing The Load
Receiving The Holy Spirit
Apostles And Elders
Love Your Enemies
God Is Merciful
Vengeance Is Mine Or Is It
The Good Samaritan
For God So Loved The World
A New Commandment
How To Love Jesus
Parables And The Love Of The Father
No Stopping The Word
A Merciful God