When Jesus says that God gave His Son, this brings us to the subject of grace. Or, as John tells us at the beginning of his Gospel “grace upon grace” (John 1:16). Grace is another one of those ideas that whole books have been devoted to. It’s a primary doctrine in Christianity and one’s views on this doctrine determine how salvation occurs and even whether or not it is possible to lose one’s salvation once it has been gained. I’ll throw my personal views on the table for comments and questions.
Like I said grace is an essential doctrine for all Christians. It can be a deceptively complex issue when one unpacks all of its implications but it boils down to simplicity itself. Because of His great love for human beings, God offers us all salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. It’s His gift to us.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 ESV)
An example I have often used is that it’s like a Christmas present under a tree….. The present is wrapped beautifully and has you name written on it. You can pick it up, examine it, shake a little to see if it rattles or not. But even then you can put it back down and leave it on the ground next to the tree. You can even carry it around with you to show everyone how beautiful the package is. But, the gift really isn’t yours until you truly accept it, open it up and see what’s inside. That’s when you truly accept it and it is useful to you.
Or, maybe you don’t do Christmas or you aren’t yet a Christian… Imagine your best friend (or a complete stranger for that matter) is offering you a $100 bill. It’s a gift with no strings attached. You don’t have to do anything to earn that $100 bill. It’s not yours until you take it from his or her hand.
In both examples, the gift is free. You don’t have to do anything to earn the gift. That’s why we call it grace. But you do have to accept Jesus as your Lord and your Savior. That’s not really something anyone “does” per se. He already is Lord and already is everyone’s Savior but no one receives the benefit of His identity without first realizing them.
Even though we know that it takes an act of the Holy Spirit to bring a person to the point at which a person can see the gift for what it is and Jesus Christ for who He is, that’s kind of like turning on the lights on Christmas morning. The present was there before the lights were turned on, but you just couldn’t see it. Now, in the light, you can walk over, pick it up and open it.
Jesus is the gift that God is holding out to the world. Come and get Him.