The Greatest Christmas Gift of All
By Dr. Curtis Hutson (1934ó1995)
Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet said, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given" (Isa. 9:6). That prophecy was fulfilled in the words of that blessed text, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
Jesus Christ was Godís Christmas Gift, and God never gives anything but the best! The Bible says in James 1:17, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
With deep gratitude for this Gift, the apostle wrote, "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift" (2nd Corinthians 9:15).
Christmas is that blessed time of year when nearly everyoneís thoughts turn to gifts and giving. Ample evidence of the fact is the enormous sum of money spent for Christmas gifts each year.
Giving is a Christian virtue not to be taken lightly. It is a tragedy for life to be lived in ignorance of the joy of generous giving. To keep happiness, it must be given away. To lift anotherís load is to lighten our own. And as the waters fled away from Tantalus, so do all the higher, nobler things of life flee away from the self-seeking spirit.
As we think of gifts and giving at this Christmas season, let us meditate on the fact that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
The blessed Heavenly Father gave the first Christmas Gift. Romans 8:32 states, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Salvation is the gift of God.
The Scripture says in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." As we think about Godís glorious Christmas Gift, letís consider that it was . . .
An Unsolicited Gift
Several times this Christmas season I have been asked, "What would you like for Christmas?" or "What can I get you for Christmas?" I have asked my children what they would like for Christmas. Many times Christmas gifts are the result of a specific request, but not so with Godís Christmas Gift. His was an unsolicited Gift.
It wasnít man who saw his need and asked for Godís help; it was the blessed Father who foresaw our need and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
When our first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned and fled from the presence of God, it wasnít Adam who saw his need and sought the Father; but the Father who, knowing Adamís need, sought him.
It was God who asked, ĎWhere art thou, Adam?í not Adam who asked, "Where art Thou, God?"
Salvation is not an afterthought with God. The Bible says concerning Jesus, "Öthe Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8).
Sinners are pictured in the Bible as lost sheep. The Scripture says, "All we like sheep have gone astray" (Isaiah 53:6). I am told that sheep are geographical morons, that a lost sheep left to himself will never find his way home but will wander farther and farther away.
How wonderful at this blessed Christmas season to think that the greatest Gift ever given was unsolicited; we didnít ask for it, but "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).
Godís Christmas Gift was also . . .
An Unlimited Gift
Some department stores cater only to the very wealthy. The gifts they offer for sale are so expensive that the average person cannot purchase them. Some very poor families are unable to enjoy gifts that are enjoyed by the middle class of society.
But Godís Christmas Gift is unlimited. The blessed promise in John 3:16 is, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Jesus Christ was Godís Gift to the entire world. No one, no matter how poor, is excluded. "He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world," states I John 2:2. And Hebrews 2:9 plainly states "that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."
I have very little patience with those who teach a limited atonement, that Jesus Christ died for only a select few. That is certainly not the teaching of the Bible. The Bible says He died for every man, no matter how educated or uneducated, no matter how wealthy or poor, no matter how privileged or underprivileged, no matter how unloved or unwanted. Godís Christmas Gift is unlimited.
No one will die and go to Hell and look back to Heaven and say, "I wanted to be saved, but Jesus Christ didnít die for me!" The Gift is available to one and all, and no one is excluded except he who excludes himself by refusing to trust Jesus Christ as Saviour.
In the last great invitation found in the Bible, our Lord opens the door as wide as He can by saying, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17).Godís Christmas Gift is . . .
"Whosoever heareth," shout, shout the sound!
Spread the blessed tidings all the world around;
Tell the joyful news wherever man is found,
"Whosoever will may come."
An Unspeakable Gift
Thinking of this wonderful Gift, the Apostle Paul said, "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift" (II Cor. 9:15). Rest assured that God never gives anything but the best: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." Jesus Christ is Godís unspeakable Gift! He is beyond telling! He is indescribable! He is inexpressible!
Perhaps Charles Wesley was thinking of this unspeakable Gift when he wrote:For ages songwriters and poets alike have attempted to describe Godís glorious Christmas Gift. Preachers the world around have preached unnumbered sermons trying to explain this unspeakable Gift, but the half has never yet been told. Godís Christmas Gift is unspeakable.
O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemerís praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace.
My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread throí all the earth abroad
The honors of Thy name.
Godís Christmas Gift is also . . .
An Unchanging Gift
Hebrews 13:8 declares, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."
Times change, styles change, attitudes and tastes change, history and math books change. Nearly everything we know of changes. But Jesus Christ is Godís unchanging Gift. His perfection demands His immutability.
There can be no moral change in Jesus. If He got better, it would mean He was not perfect before He improved; and if He got worse, it would mean He was no longer perfect.
But not only is there no moral change in Jesus; there is no change within Himself. He never differs from Himself. He never changes from understanding to more understanding, from impatient to patient, from merciful to more merciful or from willing to more willing. All that Jesus is He always has been, and all that He has been and is, He ever will be.
Christmas gifts we received several years ago have now become obsolete, but Jesus is always current; He is always new; He never changes. He is the same today to those who trust Him as Saviour as He was to those who trusted Him two thousand years ago! We enjoy the same Saviour and salvation that Spurgeon, Whitefield, Billy Sunday, W. B. Riley, Martin Luther and all the saints of bygone years enjoyed.Godís Christmas Gift is unchanging.
O how sweet the glorious message,
Simple faith may claim;
Yesterday, today, forever,
Jesus is the same.
Still He loves to save the sinful,
Heal the sick and lame,
Cheer the mourner, still the tempest;
Glory to His name!
Yesterday, today, forever,
Jesus is the same,
All may change, but Jesus never!
Glory to His name.
But consider further that it is . . .
An Undeserved Gift
The very fact that salvation is a gift indicates that it is undeserved. If it is earned or deserved, it is no longer a gift. A gift is something offered with no strings attached. Salvation is wholly of grace. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9).
Many religions teach that salvation is part of grace and part of works, but that simply cannot be. Romans 11:6 reminds us, "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."
Regarding those who work to earn Heaven, Jesus said in Matthew 7:22 and 23, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Works offered to God in an attempt to earn salvation are described by Jesus as Ďworks of iniquity.í No matter how good those works may be, they are still Ďworks of iniquity.í If one worked to earn Heaven, the motive behind the work would render it ineffective. All Christian service must be motivated by love.
We read in 1st Corinthians 13:3, "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."
If one worked to be saved, the service would be motivated by fear rather than love and thus be ineffective.
Someone gave this acrostic of grace:
Everything we have we received one of three ways: we earned it, stole it, or somebody gave it to us.
Now, if we go to Heaven when we die, we will either earn it, steal it, or Someone will give it to us. Could we earn Heaven? If we had a million lifetimes and worked day and night, there is no way we could earn Heaven. The street in Heaven is made of pure gold, so pure it is like transparent glass. Earth has no way of refining gold this pure. There is no way we could possibly earn Heaven.
And we certainly couldnít steal it. The Scripture teaches that thieves shall have their part in the lake of fire.
If we canít earn it or steal it, then there is only one other way for us to enjoy Heaven: it must be a gift. And that is exactly what the Bible says. Jesus said to the woman at the well in John 4:10, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water."
Godís Christmas Gift that is unsolicited, unlimited, unspeakable, unchanging, and undeserved is also . . .
An Unclaimed Gift
"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son," but the whole world has not yet received Jesus Christ as Saviour! Christ tasted death for every man, but every man is not trusting Christ for salvation. To multiplied millions, Jesus Christ is still a stranger.
Dear children and friends have made a sacrifice to purchase Christmas gifts for the ones they love. These gifts are wrapped in beautiful packages and laid underneath the tree.
Excitement builds as Christmas Day approaches, and those who have made sacrifices are anxious to watch as loved ones and friends open Christmas presents.
Mother and Father watch with joyful faces as the daughter opens a beautiful package and then exclaims, "O Mother! This is just what I wanted!" And then hugging and kissing Mother and Father, the grateful daughter says, "Thank you." Then another package is opened, and the scene is repeated.
How sad to imagine that after sacrifice and expense, some gift is unclaimed, some package is unopened! How sad the giver must feel to think that the gift is not wanted! Yet the greatest gift of all, Godís Christmas Gift, Jesus Christ, is still unclaimed by millions!
Perhaps there are some reading these lines who have never trusted Christ as Saviour; you have never received Him. If that be the case, let me urge you to trust Him now. Donít wait another moment. The Bible warns, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2nd Corinthians 6:2). The death of Jesus Christ on the cross is sufficient for all, but it is efficient only to those who believe.
The words believe and receive are used synonymously in the Scriptures. The Bible says in John 1:12, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." To believe is to receive. The Bible word believe means to trust, to depend on, to rely on. To receive Godís Christmas Gift simply means that one must admit that he is a sinner, believe the gospel story that Jesus Christ died for our sins at Calvary, and then trust Him completely.
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