A Free Gift....

If I may, I'd like to tell you about a gift that I received for free.  And I received it, not because I deserved it, but rather because I didn't deserve it!  That free gift is Eternal Life.  It was given to me by Jesus, God's Son.  In the Bible, which I believe is God's Word, it says in the Gospel by John in chapter 3, verse 16:  "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."  Just think of it, the Almighty God who created heaven and earth loves you!  And just think of spending all eternity in heaven with God!

Why is this so precious?  Well, consider the alternative.  In Paul's letter to the Christians at Rome in chapter 3, verse 23 we find "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."  Sin is disobedience to God.  Well, okay, so I'm a sinner.  So what?  In chapter 6 of Paul's letter, verse 23 we read "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  The just payment for my sin is death, eternal separation from God!  It is God's gift that can save me from that.  By the way, "gospel" means "good news".  What better news could there be than this?

But can't I get this free gift elsewhere, too?  In John's Gospel, chapter 14, verse 6 Jesus Himself said "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me."

Well, okay, but how about if I do lots of good things and earn eternal life?  In Paul's letter to the Christians at Ephesus in chapter 2, verses 8 and 9 we find "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as the result of works".  We can't earn our way to heaven!  By the way "grace" means "unmerited favor", which is a fancy way of saying that you get something even though you don't deserve it.

How can you accept this free gift?  Acknowledge to God that you are a sinner.  Be sorry for your sins.  Believe that Jesus is God in the flesh, that he died on the cross to pay the price for your sins and that he rose from the dead and came alive again.  Ask him to save you from your sins and to come into your life to be your Lord and Saviour.  It's that simple!  A hymn writer put it much better than I ever could:

Just as I am, without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me.
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God I come, I come.
Or as another hymn writer put it more dramatically:
I was guilty with nothing to say,
And they were coming to take me away.
But a voice was heard from Heaven which said,
Let him go; take Me instead.
I should have been crucified.
I should have suffered and died.
I should have hung on the cross in disgrace.
But Jesus, God's Son, took my place.
Before Jesus left the earth to return to heaven He told his followers "I will come again, and receive you to Myself, that where I am there you may be also." Jesus is coming back for those that believe in Him!  Some years ago Alcoa Aluminum sponsered some advertisements during NFL games called Fantastic Finishes.  There is a fantastic finish for those that believe in Jesus.  In Paul's first letter to the Christians at Thessolonika he describes it.  "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ shall rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we always be with the Lord. How's that for a Fantastic Finish?

In John's account of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Jesus says "Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him."  If you have not placed your trust in Jesus do you hear the knock?  Will you answer it?  Whether to accept or turn down the free gift of eternal life is the most important decision you will ever make.

Thank you for allowing me to share my belief with you.

Joe Sweeney

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