My two boys LOVE to receive gifts. They LOVE it. And it’s delightful to watch them open gifts and celebrate what’s inside. However, one Christmas, things did not go how this momma planned. At the time, we had one child and by Christmas day, many presents were already received from other family members. My hubby and I were excited to watch our son open the gifts we chose just for him. Imagine my surprise… and disappointment… when he only opened a few presents on Christmas morning. He was delighted with the presents he already received and wanted to play with them, rather than open new ones. No amount of encouragement from his daddy and me could make him change his mind. He made his decision. And so, the presents sat under the tree for the next several days. Eventually, he opened them all. Needless to say, that Christmas did NOT turn out how I expected it to…
I have to confess, I was one sad momma. I love giving gifts and couldn’t wait to see my son’s delight when he opened his presents on Christmas morning. I had to patiently wait until he was ready. And I had to be OK with the fact that he might not choose to open them. It was his decision to make.
Our Romans reading today gives us more insight into the value of the free gift God invites us to receive. Read Romans 5:12-21.
Here are some questions for you to consider:
- What is the consequence of Adam’s sin? (Romans 5:12)
- What is the difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift? (Romans 5:15-16)
- What happens to all who receive God’s wonderful grace and gift of righteousness? (Romans 5:17)
- Summarize Romans 5:19 in one sentence.
- Why was God’s law given? (Romans 5:20)
- What is the good news in Romans 5:20? Why is this such good news for us?
It’s incredible to think that there’s no limit to God’s grace. Grace increases as our sin increases! Phillip Yancey defines grace this way in his book “What’s So Amazing About Grace?”: “There is nothing we can do to make God love us more. There is nothing we can do to make God love us less.” God’s grace is truly greater than all our sin. Take a moment to listen to Grace that Is Greater by Building 429. Then thank God for His amazing grace.
- What is the outcome of us receiving God’s wonderful grace? (Romans 5:21)
- Why do you thing God’s grace is described as a free gift?
- Have you opened God’s free gift of grace? If yes, celebrate this! If no, what is holding you back?
We have to choose to open God’s free gift of grace. It’s beautifully wrapped with your name on it. All you have to do is open it. But God, being the gentleman that He is, won’t force you to open the gift. It’s your decision to make. It will stay under the Christmas tree until you’re ready. Your Father God is excitedly waiting for you to open it when you’re ready.
The song, Times by 10th Avenue North, gives us a snapshot of God’s intimate love and amazing grace. Take a moment to listen here.
Maybe you don’t know enough about this gift of grace yet. Maybe you need more information before you decide to open it. Romans provides you with the roadmap for this decision1.
First, you have to realize you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Because we are all sinners, God sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins. God did this because He loved you and me so much.
Second, it’s important for you to know that God loves YOU! Romans 5:8 says “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” There is no greater love than someone laying down their life for a friend and that’s exactly what Christ did for us! How incredible is that?
Third, recognize that without Jesus, you’re literally doomed. Romans 6:23 describes it this way: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Because of our sin, we deserve death. But our Father God gives us an alternative to death: eternal life through Christ. And this alternative is a free gift…with your name on it! You don’t have to work for it or earn it. You just have to choose to open it!
Fourth, you need to confess your sins. Romans 10:9-10, 13 explains: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved… For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
It’s that simple! All that’s required to open this free gift from your Heavenly Father is invite Jesus into your heart. And that simple prayer will save you from the eternal pits of Hell.
If you are ready to open this gift right now because you believe everything you just read, here is a sample prayer you can pray to receive God’s free gift:
Dear Jesus, I KNOW I am a sinner. I know that you were sent by God to die on the cross to save me from my sins. I ask you to please forgive me for the sins I have committed. I want you to live in my heart. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. From this day forward, I will follow your will and serve you. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!
If you just prayed this prayer, welcome to the kingdom of God! You are now adopted into God’s family! And that is something to celebrate! Please let someone know about your decision. And finding a Bible-believing church in your area can provide you with a support system to encourage you in your walk with Jesus. We are so excited to have you as part of the family!
1 Romans Road adapted from Pastor Buddy Howard’s How to lead a person to Christ handout.