At this time of year our minds are focused on giving and receiving gifts. It is one of the fun things about Christmas.

When thinking about this I realize that of all the gifts I receive from man and God, the greatest of these is the gift of forgiveness. God's entire purpose has been to order human events throughout history in order to bring Jesus on the world scene so that He could die on the cross and resurrect from the dead and thus obtain our forgiveness.

He bore our sins in His body on the cross… for by His wounds you were healed. (I Peter 2:24)

The pleasure of most gifts is to unwrap and examine them; I would like to do this with our most precious gift, forgiveness.

Examining forgiveness

1. It's something you really needed

Just like we say when we get a new tool or watch or envelope of money, "Oh great, I really could use (or wanted) one of these!" We can say, as far as forgiveness is concerned, "I really needed this." The Bible says that everyone sins and because of sin we are condemned to everlasting hell. (Romans 3:23; 6:23) When we receive forgiveness from Jesus we can truly say with a sigh of relief and joy, "Wow, I really needed this!"

2. Jesus is the gift giver

The note on the box says "To Susan from Jesus" or "To Bill from Jesus." Jesus has the authority to forgive (Matthew 28:18). Jesus paid the price to purchase your forgiveness; it is completely paid for.

In Him we have redemption, through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of His grace. (Ephesians 1:7)

Jesus guarantees the gift.

If God is for us, who can be against us. (Romans 8:31)

Because Jesus, the Son of God is the gift-giver, we can be sure that our actual forgiveness is greater than our doubts about our forgiveness ( that " too good to be true" syndrome). Jesus said,

All things are possible with God. (Matthew 19:26)

All things are possible, even the forgiveness of every single one of your sins in the past, the present and the future. You can trust the quality, effectiveness and durability of your gift. It will not break down or be out of date. It will always function to do what it was designed to do: remove your sins and cleanse your conscience, now and forever.

3. Jesus has this gift for everyone

The sad thing about Christmas is that people celebrate the person of Jesus by exchanging gifts with others but neglect receiving the most precious gift from Jesus Himself. There are so many unopened presents on Christmas Day. Jesus offers the gift of forgiveness and the eternal life that goes with it to everyone who will receive it.

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. (John 3:16)

Jesus offers this precious gift of forgiveness to everyone who expresses their belief in Him by repenting of their sins, confessing His name publicly and by being baptized. He offers forgiveness and renewal to all Christians who have rejected or abused His gift with sinful living or neglect of church by simply confessing and abandoning their sins.

Would this not be a fine Christmas if you would finally receive what you really needed? Forgiveness for your sins?

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Barry Day,
Pulpit Minister,
San Diego - Canyon View Church of Christ