• Jill Jarrell Newsome

Displaying Gifts

I found a picture the other day of my mom's dining room transformed into my wedding gift display. When I got married, it was customary, in the south, for the wedding gifts to be displayed at the bride's parent's home. The living room or dining room would be a huge display area with china stacked, crystal, small appliances, quilts, pictures, linens, etc. I remember people coming over and walking through. It was so exciting to see all of these new things that had just been given to Mike and I.

I get so excited to receive gifts - no matter big or small. And isn't it wonderful when it is just what you need? Sometimes I didn't even know I needed that particular gift! I began thinking about God's gift to us. Our biggest gift - the gift of Salvation. Ephesians 2: 8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."

Salvation is a free gift that cannot be bought or earned by our good works. Romans 6: 23, "

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." While this gift is free to us it came with a great price. God's gift of salvation cost Him His Son who died on the cross for our sins. He paid for our salvation with His blood. This gift ONLY becomes ours when we accept it. We have to believe in our hearts that Jesus died on the cross for all of our sins and that without Him we will spend eternity separated from Him. When we give our hearts to Jesus, He will show us mercy. No one can take credit for their salvation. No one has been good enough to get to heaven. No one will get there acting like a Christian, riding on their parents coattails or because they grew up in a godly home.

So do we display this gift - the greatest gift we have ever received? Do we want to share with others? God calls us to "always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15 God helps us to believe through faith and we show our faith through the action of good works. This is being obedient because of God's love for us. We want to live out our faith for God's glory.

When we accepted the gift of salvation God put a righteousness in us that did not exist prior. The Creator of the universe spoke righteousness into us! This means Jesus can work through us. As a growing Christian we die to ourselves a little more every day, becoming more Christ like. John 3: 30, "He must increase, but I must decrease." Each day we love God more and more and become more grateful.

Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples. It is called the Great Commission, not the great mission. "Co" means "with". We go with God. We cannot make disciples alone. Matthew 28: 18-20, "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen." He has empowered us by the Holy Spirit. God offers the gift of salvation to "whoever will call on the name of the Lord." Romans 10: 13, "For 'whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'” It does not stop there. We are then told that our sharing the good news is the means by which people will come to faith. Romans 10: 14, "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?"

The gift of salvation is the most important piece of information we have because it is the only way into heaven. John 14: 6, "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'" We must display this gift! We have to step forward in faith and obey God, sharing His Good News! "Keep sharing the good news; we have not yet exhausted the number of God's elect."


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