The Gift of God
I have previously mentioned that people intuitively believe that to receive eternal life there must be a certain level of moral and commendable living that satisfies God’s demands. Or, in comparison to others, an individual’s sins must not exceed a threshold that might disqualify the person from earning or meriting eternal life. This is unequivocally not the biblical perspective. Actually, the opposite is true. The Bible makes clear that no one can be morally good enough to merit or pay the penalty for their sin. No one is capable of satisfying God’s righteous requirement for eternal life. There is only one satisfactory atonement or payment for sin—that is the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ, on behalf of God, as the substitute for human beings, who cannot do the work nor pay the price themselves.
What is nearly as important to understand is that forgiveness of sin and obtaining eternal life is expressly a gift from God. That gift is given on the basis of God’s grace (unmerited kindness) to people, and is completely dependent upon God’s kindness and mercy in providing forgiveness and eternal life to those who come to him through Jesus Christ.
Consider the following (italics added).
“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 ESV).
“For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17 ESV).
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24 ESV).
Forgiveness, righteousness, reconciliation with God, obtaining eternal life...it is all because of God’s kindness and the gift which he provides to those who believe in Christ Jesus and humble themselves in repentance and faith. No one can earn or merit these gifts.
Why does God give eternal life as a gift?
Simply put, everything people have is a gift from God. Whether we are discussing the universe, the sun, the earth, the food we eat, the very air we breathe—everything. We should not be surprised if forgiveness of sin and eternal life is also a gift from God.
Nevertheless, if we want to be a bit more specific within the limits of this short explanation, we could narrow the matter down to two primary causes.
God loves people
The first reason God gives these gifts is because God loves all people. The Bible is replete with support to believe God loves humanity which drives him to help us. Arguably the simplest and yet most profound statement ever uttered by human lips was stated by Jesus Christ who said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 KJV). All that proceeds and all that follows that one statement explains God’s efforts for what he has done—God loves humanity and God provides a way to eternal life.
God’s kindness is a perpetual display
Another reason God’s provision of forgiveness and eternal life is a gift is because his mercy, kindness, and righteousness will one day be on permanent display throughout the endless ages to come. The entirety of the matter is explained by Paul.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 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 2:4-9 ESV emphasis added).
In other words, the work of God on people’s behalf will be a perpetual and eternal evidence of Gods love and kindness. This is not unlike a monument dedicated to the memory of some great event in history. God’s goodness, his righteousness, his love, his mercy, and the extent of his efforts will be put on eternal display through the people whom he saved. Furthermore, the credit will be wholly his. No person will be able to boast that their own goodness saved them from their sin—the opposite will be true—each person will have the same testimony—“God forgave my sins and saved me and gave me eternal life because of his mercy, goodness, and kindness.” And every other saved person will say the same.
Why does God give these as a gift? The answer: “...so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
And because of God’s great work on mankind’s behalf, God issues an invitation to every person.
Let’s continue to our next discussion and consider God’s invitation to all persons.To next section Homepage