The free gift

Sometimes I lose sight of what an amazing gift I’ve been given. But let me tell you, if you want a fervent appreciation of God’s grace and His gift of life to all of us, then spend a week reading the Old Testament prophets like Jeremiah.

That’s what I’ve been doing the last few days. In the words of those prophets we hear God’s blistering condemnation of His own chosen people. They had decided they did not need Him, had given their lives to all kinds of other idolatrous pursuits and passions—and God was not happy with the state of things! (This is putting it mildly.)

You’ll read things there that you never thought you’d hear our loving Father say—things like “I’m abandoning you. I’m tired of constantly giving you another chance. You are nothing to me now. Every wonderful thing I had for you, I’m going to tear away from you. I’m going to look the other way while your enemies slaughter you. Yes, I’ve even brought your enemies here to do just that. Your corpses will be picked clean by the wild animals.” Oh, His language is much stronger, terrifying. His judgment is coming, and it’s going to be awful.

As God brings His case against Israel and Judah, I can see myself in some of His words describing the people with whom He’s so angry. I see our country there, too. Many of the words in Jeremiah especially could have been written about the United States today. I cringe as I read …

What’s the point of this ?

It has reminded me again what a great gift I’ve been given—the gift of eternal life and a cleansed, unhindered relationship with our Creator God—even though I am so, so unworthy. I could never be spotless and blameless in His eyes — at least, not on my own. Things would be pretty hopeless without Jesus Christ.

So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:21)

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

Because of [God’s] grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life. (Titus 3:7)

This eternal life is what we were meant to have at the beginning, when He created us in His own image. But the human race lost the life God had planned for them when they decided they wanted to go their own way.

Yet the Creator loves His creation and woos it back. He became one of us, lived a life none of us would ever choose, and died an agonizing death as a human—all so that He could offer us this gift.

The gift is life, the life and the relationship with Him that we once lost.

Without Jesus, I’d be headed for the terrifying disaster that was about to fall on Jeremiah’s people.

Instead, I’m enjoying this free gift.

And what can I say, Father, except thank you?
My confidence is in you, and you alone.
Amen.

 

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Psalm Prayer:

My heart is confident in you, O God.
(Psalm 108:1) 

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© Elaine Starner 2015

Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

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