Monday, December 16, 2019

Advent Day 16:Gift

Advent Words Day 16: Gift

"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human descent or a husband's will, but born of God. " John 1:12-13

It's great to spend multiple days in one verse because we get the full range and magnitude of its meaning. John has been describing the greatest gift ever - the gift of adoption into God's family, the privilege of becoming His children. He describes in clear and understandable terms here how it is we become children of God.

1. Receive -  We must accept the gift God is giving us through His Son Jesus Christ. 
2. Believe -  The way in which we receive this gift is through faith, belief.
3. Name - What we believe in is the wonderful, powerful name of Jesus Christ, through whom the forgiveness of sins and eternal life are found by those who seek Him.
4. Gave - Through believing in who Christ is and what He has done for us God gives us the right - the privilege - to be His children.
5. Gift - The gift is to become God's children, to receive a new life, a second chance of life in abundance in His kingdom.

We are all born in the image of God but we are not all His children. As the rest of today's passage explains, children of God do not become His children by natural or human descent. We are not His children because our parents were or because we may have been born into a nation that is Christian. We are not even His children because we grew up in a church. Scripture is very clear that we must each repent, believe in Jesus Christ and experience a spiritual birth - a re-birth. Read how Jesus himself explained it to Nicodemus:
"Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit." John 3:3-6
Throughout the New Testament this new birth into God's family is emphasized:

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." Romans 8:14-17

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him." 1 John 3:1

Through our salvation in Christ we become children of God - the greatest gift ever!

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:4-7

As the days advance through Advent toward Christmas pause and thank God for His greatest gift - salvation through His Son. And then I encourage you, if you have not received this gift, pray and do so today. You will experience Christmas and life in a new way! If you have received this gift, then share it with others. It's a gift too great to keep to ourselves!

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Join me in responding creatively to the Advent Words in John's prologue. You can share your creative response on Instagram using #adventwords2019 or join the Words Challenge Facebook Group and share your creative response there. 

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