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Friday, December 11, 2015

The Gift Card (How the Gospel Is Like a Gift Card)

So this Christmas I received, as I’m sure many of you have, a few gift cards. Whether they are big or small most people get some for the holidays – one I even received from a customer of mine at Staples who was very pleased to discover that her back seat actually folded down to make more room for the furniture she bought.

One of the cards I received this year was from Sherry’s Grandma ( she’s become my Grandma too). It was a Starbucks card and Sherry and I thoroughly enjoyed using it on our day off together. I guess what I like about gift cards is that they are a means to receive something for free. But when you think about it, its not really free – someone had to pay for it. In this instance it was our Grandma but it made me think of another instance.

I’ve known a few people who just can’t wrap their mind around the Gospel – basically because its something for free. Namely, redemption and eternal salvation of one’s soul. Salvation, not just to live the way we do now but to live in peace and harmony with our Creator, the one Who loves us…. To live an abundant, purposeful life both here and in the hereafter.

 “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.” Ephesians 2:8-9.

But things that are free often raise the suspicion of many. If its so good – why is it free? Isn’t anything worth having worth working hard for?  So whether it’s a lack of trust, pride or just a lifetime of being used to having to work hard for everything little thing you’ve received – many people struggle with this idea of a  “free” gift of salvation.

However here is where salvation is like a gift card. It may be free to you – but its not free. Freedom itself is not free! Oh, God knows its not free folks – just like the gift card, someone had to pay for it…. and did they ever pay for it. God’s Son, Jesus Christ, was the Giver of this “gift card” so to speak. He paid a debt that we could not pay no matter how much money we had or how hard we worked or how good we were. He paid the debt of sin which paved the way for the “gift” of eternal salvation.

So what’s our part of the deal? Well similar to the gift card at Christmas,  we first receive and accept it from the giver, we also trust the person who gave it to us – that  it has value, that it will actually pay for the cup of coffee. ( it would take a pretty sick sense of humor to give a gift card with no value – although it would be a good practical joke ;) . Finally, we need to redeem it. Go to the store, cash it in – enjoy the gift.

So this Christmas, I pray that we could all understand a bit better the “Unspeakable Gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15) of God. That we would receive it from Him by faith knowing that it was paid by Someone. Someone did pay, Someone did work, Someone was good enough – Jesus. Put all your trust in Him.

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