For by grace you have
been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8 WEB

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New Life of Beauty and Grace

Saved by the "Free Gift"!

Perhaps the hardest thing for all of us to believe is that God really does want to give us everything that we need for free.[1] You don’t have to deserve His love and mercy, or His unfailing help. You certainly can’t earn it. You can’t make up for lost time. You can’t bring forth a better version of yourself. But you can learn to trust and believe in what He is giving you. That’s a lot! So take a good look at the many ways you are saved by the “Free Gift” and let it overwhelm you… and transform you.

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

A Father’s Love

What loving father doesn’t delight in giving good gifts to his children? Our heavenly Father is no different. John, “the Beloved Disciple,” treasured the love he had received, digging deeply into Russian Nesting Dolls : Saved by God's Free Gifts!God’s heart to “mine” the precious gift. He wants us all to take a good look and "see what kind of love the Father has given to us..." (1 John 3:1 ESV)! 

We all are invited to go as deeply as we can into this immense heart of love. He loves us first so that we can learn to love Him in return.[2] Where to begin? With the Great Exchange. We give Him our sins, weaknesses and failures: He gives us endless mercy and everything else necessary for new life in abundance.[3]

Have you ever seen Russian Christmas dolls? One is nested inside the other, and on and on. God has done something like that with the “free gift” of salvation. What catches your attention at first won’t be the only thing that catches your heart. There is so much more hidden inside.  Have a good look at all that is here (but even this isn’t all—it’s just an overview). Take time to treasure each one as you open it.

Gifted with Acceptance  We all want to be accepted, don't we? We yearn to find those people, places and events where we feel like we truly belong, where we can "be ourselves" and not have to put up a false front. What if there is a place we can always go and be accepted immediately—just as we are, even when we are most messed up? What if there is someone who will never push us away, but always welcome us with open arms? Wouldn’t you want to go running to that Person? Wouldn’t you always want to be with that Person?

Gifted with Adoption  Maybe you don’t think you need this one or that it could possibly apply to you. Maybe you were one of the fortunate ones who was never abandoned by either or your birth parents. That’s a good beginning, but it sure isn’t the end of the story. The truth is you were abandoned long ago and the consequences have been showing up painfully in your life ever since. Our Father has the perfect remedy, but first you have to recognize the disease.

Gifted with Forgiveness  This is usually the first, the biggest and the most desperately needed gift of all—apart from the never-ending wonder of discovering that Jesus is alive and well, Risen from the dead and Ruler of the universe. You can’t really top that one! But being forgiven comes close.

Gifted with the Holy Spirit  This gift is literally “out of this world.” The God of heaven has determined that to complete your rescue, He would have to descend from above the starry heights and dive into you, indwelling you (your body and soul) and uniting Himself to your newly regenerated spirit. In this way He can personally empower you, enliven you, and lead you out into the new life He has in Mind. The Person of the Godhead tasked with this daunting assignment? The Holy Spirit Himself! Almost all of the other gifts listed here are restoration gifts—things that you need to be a New Creation. Holy Spirit takes it from there. He has come to help you live like one!

Gifted with Love  Love is the greatest gift of all. It is the reason that all the other gifts have been given. If you have received faith in Christ, this is no accident. Long before any of us were born, God loved us and chose to save us. For the sake of love all of the other gifts have been given. It was for love that the Father sent Jesus to die for us. It is for love that the Father sent the Holy Spirit to live inside of us. So great is the mystery of God’s love for us that Jesus said the Father loves us even as much as He loves Jesus!

Gifted with Glorification  Glorification is God going "over the top." All we really needed Him to do was save us from our earthly hells that bound us and from the hell we were inevitably earning by our accumulated sins. Just let us escape either one of those hells and God could have our praises into eternity! So He did; and so we shall. And still there is more…

Gifted with Justification  Don’t you just hate feeling inwardly accused or condemned? It is bad enough feeling guilty when we are guilty, but it really stinks to feel like a skunk for no good reason! The truth is that we need to be convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that we have truly been forgiven where our real sins are concerned. But because we have an enemy (A.K.A. “The Accuser”), we also need powerful protection against that “shadowy” voice which is always finding fault. God’s answer to both? He “justified” us!

Gifted with Propitiation  This is definitely an old fashioned word, a relic from the ancient past which sounds as if it can have no relevance to our life and times. Certainly it is a word which we never use anymore, but is it an action that is no longer done? In fact it is done all the time! Whenever we try to gain someone’s favor, placate their anger, or appease their demands we have been “propitiating” without even know it. Yet, God did it best of all when God did it for God...

Gifted with the Ransom  Everyone loves a good romance. The idea of star crossed lovers, of undying love, of wicked villains and heroic sacrifice—these are the stuff of legend and great movies. They are also the hidden truths of your story. The Lord’s rescue of us has all the elements of a great romance. What could turn the bride-to-be’s heart better than that sight of her Beloved risking His all to ransom her from the grip of pure evil?

Gifted with Reconciliation  Have you ever had someone so upset with you that no matter what you did, you couldn’t help them get over it? It feels terrible when one of our relationships is out of whack—and so peaceful and life-giving when it is restored. Our relationship with God was in desperate need of reconciliation, even if we didn’t know it. Have you noticed, though, how much more peaceful you feel now that you believe in Jesus and have Him living inside of you? That peace—the peace of Christ—is the peace of reconciliation!

Gifted with Redemption  Redemption has many meanings and practically infinite applications. The idea behind it is payment of a debt, setting free from slavery, releasing from captivity, or buying back something sold. Jesus, our mighty Redeemer, does all of the above! That’s the meaning—treasure it in your heart. Then saturate it with faith and spread it all over every troubled area of your life. The application has endless possibilities…

Gifted with Regeneration  Regeneration simply means that we have been brought back to life: re-generated. Of course it can be made much more complicated than that by asking the obvious question: "Was I dead and didn't know it?" Yes, that's it! "But in what way dead? And how was I brought back to life? And why didn't I know it? And why don't I always feel more alive?" Now, that's too many questions!

Gifted with Relationships  You may be thinking, "But I already have lots of people in my life—that's part of the problem!" We all have relationships with other people, but that's not what the new birth brings us. It doesn't bring us more of the same, it radically changes what we have had in every dimension. Here's how…

Gifted with Repentance  Have you ever thought of repentance is a gift? It sure doesn't feel that way! Usually, when we realize that we have done wrong, we feel guilt which feels lousy—not at all like receiving a present. We may also feel fear ("What kind of trouble am I in now?  Is God going to be mad at me?"). That certainly doesn't feel like a blessing! We may also feel the sting of wounded pride and shame ("How could I have done that? I'll just die if _____ finds out!"). Not good, right? Just guessing, but you probably didn’t like to take your medicine either.

Gifted with Resurrection  Naturally enough, the big resurrection that has all of us shouting is that Jesus has been raised from the dead. Because He lives, we have a solid hope that one day we too will be raised from death to live eternally with Him. But don’t stop there. Many things go down towards death: hopes die, relationships die, careers die, loved ones die, dreams die. Our need for “resurrections” is life-long!

Gifted with Revelation  You are trapped in a dark room and can't find the door. You can't think of a way out. You can't grope for and find the way out. You are getting increasingly worried and desperate. Then some kind Person turns on the lights for you. Now you can see your way around. You can even see the One who took pity on you and enlightened you. What a revelation!

Gifted with Salvation  Have you just been saved? Get used to being saved. It is a whole new way of life. When the Lord put in scripture three times that everyone who calls on His name would be saved, He wasn’t wasting the ink.[4] He knows He will have to save us often. Like toddlers who need a lot of looking after so do we: From reminders that come in the nick of time, to deliverance from oppressive feelings, to helping with problems at work, at home, with finances, etc. Make sure you know how to call His number![5]

Gifted with Sanctification  Maybe you didn't ask for this, but your prayer to be saved has now enrolled you in a life-long process of being "sanctified." Yes, that is a $5.00 church word if ever there was one, but it means something you won't want to miss. It means that we are washed clean. We are being cleansed of wrong thoughts, mistaken beliefs, sinful practices—all kinds of things that get in the way of the peace-filled, grace-full way of life set before us.


Scriptures and Foot Notes

[1]  Being saved by the "free gift" means that He is literally giving us EVERYTHING we will ever need to live life at its fullest: His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature. 2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV
[2]  We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19 ESV
[3]  For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). 2 Peter 1:3 AMP
[4]  Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13.
[5]  We like to say that the Lord’s “number” is Jeremiah 33:3: Call to me, and I will answer you, and will show you great things, and difficult, which you don't know. Jeremiah 33:3 WEB