Nothing like a wrapped present to build excitement in the heart of a child. Our three and five year old grandchildren , Austin and Emarie, ask us every time they are over if they can open their presents. Ace and I get excited too for we know what the presents are and we know they will love them. They did not shop for their gifts or pay for it, we did, it's theirs, free and clear. We don't expect them to pay us back, or buy us something in return.
You know I am still excited over the gift I opened on Oct. 20th, 1980. In fact I want to give this gift to all I meet. Instead of being under a tree this gift was nailed to a old rugged cross, it's package of flesh torn and bleeding. The bow made into a crown of thorns dug into the wrapping. There was nothing pretty about the package and the way it was presented. Yet it contain everything to give me eternal life.
I believe God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit gets excited when ever this gift is presented to someone. They wait, hoping it will be accepted.
There is no plainer truth taught in the Word of God than salvation being a “free gift” (Romans 5:15,18; 6:23). If I were to offer you a Christmas present, but with the stipulation that you must be willing to take a bath, it would not be a gift. Why? Because I have clearly implied that I expect you to take a bath to get the present. A gift is defined as something given voluntarily without any payment in return.
The thief had nails through both hands, so that he could not work; and a nail through each foot, so that he could not run errands for the Lord; he could not lift a hand or a foot toward his salvation, and yet Christ offered him the gift of God; and he took it. Christ threw him a passport, and took him into Paradise. D.L. Moody (don't you just love this quote?)
One more quote from Mary DeMuth book, Everything.
We cannot fully satisfy a holy God. Our redemption is an outrageous, initiating act accomplished by God alone. He pursued humanity to such an extent that His feet landed on earth, and He chased after us until He rescued us at the cross. We did not climb onto those wooden beams. We could not receive the nails that pierced those holy hands. We who are not kingly wore no crown. We could not drink the cup of God wrath. "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Rom. 5:6. God did what we could not . He sent His beautifully sinless Son to take our place, to satisfy for all time God's wrath upon sin. "For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. II Cor. 5:21
God transforms, He creates, He thinks otherworldly thoughts, He dares to redeem an obstinate world. If we camp in that place, remembering the gift we could never, ever pay back, we will live astonished lives, and our growth will be the best kind---the kind that emerges from gratitude, from thinking rightly about God.
What a gift!