“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)
Late on Thanksgiving Day, after a long day of activities, I began to think of sleep. With all the cooking and preparing that morning, though, I had not spent time reading my Bible. During a day significant for giving thanks, I hadn’t paused to give God thanks.
I sat down with my Bible and thought of the words of James 1:17:
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
I began to think of the gifts in my life, to name them and write them down, to be thankful and to recognize they are from God.
This listing of gifts caused me to wonder: are there specific gifts of God named in Scripture? I looked up “gift” in the concordance at the back of my Bible. Here are four that I found:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
What have we been saved from? Earlier in that passage, it describes our trespasses and sins in which we were dead (Eph. 2:1-3). But God, rich in mercy, made us alive together with Christ, and gave even so much more (Eph. 2:4-7). Saved by grace through faith—the gift of God.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).
Along these same lines, Romans 6 also talks about being dead to sin and alive to God. It concludes with the contrast of death and life, of being in sin or being in Christ, and the amazing free gift of eternal life for those who know Christ.
“And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
With salvation through Christ and the assurance of eternal life with Christ, we can also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, God himself within us. This is a wonder too great to imagine! Other parts of Scripture explain the role of the Holy Spirit, and we also understand this reality more clearly as we experience it through faith in Christ.
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
1 Corinthians 12 and following talks about spiritual gifts given to believers. Each one is given and empowered by God and has a necessary role in the body of believers.
Other Good Gifts
This morning I took a more comprehensive look at “gifts” in the Bible, doing a little more study than I previously had with my simple concordance. I saw that God is the giver of many other gifts. This could actually be a much greater study. But there is one gift that is greater than all.
The Gift of God Himself
Though God gives us many gifts, the gift of God Himself is the best one. The gift-giver is the ultimate Gift. We find Him when we put our faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. As we go on, it might be easy from time to time to long for other good gifts He can give and forget that He is both the Giver of the gifts and the Gift we most need.
Receive the Gift
Do you know this Gift? The Gift of God Himself?
Have you received the free gift of salvation that He has made available to us through Christ, through grace? Do you have confidence of eternal life in Christ? Are you experiencing the Spirit-filled life and exercising the spiritual gifts that God bestows on those who believe in Him?
If not, pray and tell God that you want to receive Him through faith in Christ, to be forgiven of your sins, to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and to believe that God raised Him from the dead. Call upon Him, put your faith in Him, repent of sin, receive the free gift of salvation, and rest in Him.
No fancy words are needed, no advanced level of understanding is required—just simple faith in the amazing God who made you, loves you, and died to redeem you.
And then begin to read the Bible to get to know Him more. Start with the Book of John or Romans. Go to a Bible-believing church that can help you begin to grow as a new believer. Tell a friend of your new life in Christ so they can encourage you. Keep seeking Him in prayer that He might show you the way to now live. And thank Him for the free gift of salvation and eternal life in Christ for those who believe on Jesus’ name.
As we enter this Christmas season, I can’t think of any better gift to receive. Thank you, Jesus.