Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. Romans 5:18 (KJV)
The tradition of exchanging gifts did not originate with man. It was God who first gave the very best of Himself in exchange for man’s sinful soul. Upon acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior, the new believer is gifted with a new heart and a new mind to follow God (Ezek. 36:26); he becomes part of the Body of Christ (The Church) with spiritual gifts for evangelizing, equipping, and edifying others. The Apostle James states that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above who never changes (James 1:17). God’s divine gift exchange exceeds anything that man can ever imagine.
In our study text, the Apostle Paul reminds the church in Rome of the perfect and free gift they have received in Christ Jesus (Rom. 5:15-18). As a result of the first Adam’s sin, man was condemned and separated from God. In contrast, with the arrival of the second Adam (Jesus Christ), God offered to mankind the free gift of grace—the gift that would last throughout eternity. What is the unique nature of that gift exchange?
The “incarnate life”—deity for humanity. The arrival of Christ into history represented a holy God putting on flesh and dwelling with us (Matt. 1:23). It was necessary that a lamb be provided for the atonement of sin (Lev. 4:32-35). So God prepared for Himself a human body that would later become the “perfect lamb” for the sins of man (Heb. 9:13-14). Jesus’ incarnation would mean that “whomsoever would call upon the name of the Lord would be saved” (Acts 2:21).
The “exchanged life”—righteousness for sin. The Christ child was more than a sweet babe in swaddling clothing. He was the long awaited “Consolation of Israel” and “redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 2:25, 38). Just as the prophets had foretold, Jesus provided the bridge whereby man could be reconciled to God (Mat. 1:21; Titus 3:4-7). Being justified by faith in God, redeemed man would receive Christ’s imputed righteousness as if it were his own and thereby become acceptable to God (Rom. 5:1).
The “empowered life”—strength for weakness. The arrival of the Holy Spirit after the ascension of Christ would provide the power needed to accomplish the work that Christ had commissioned for not only His Disciples in the 1st century but also for the disciples in the 21st century (Matt. 28:19-20). Prayer is the connection by which faith is energized. There is an old Christian axiom that says, “Little prayer, little power; Much prayer, much power.” Prayer and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit provide the strength needed to meet the challenges of living and ministering in this fallen world.
The “resurrected life”—life for death. Eternal life with God. This is the greatest of God’s gifts. Death’s sting has been removed; the fear of death is no more. Through spiritual regeneration (2 Cor. 5:17) and continuous renewal by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 12:2), Jesus pours out His life abundantly on us. We now stand as heirs of God patiently wait for the redemption of our human souls for eternal life (Ep. 1:14). “As we have born the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly; putting on the incorruption for corruption and immortality for this mortal” (1 Cor. 15: 49, 53).
In anticipation of the Christmas holiday, we often misdirect our attention on Christmas shopping, holiday events and special parties. While there is nothing wrong with these activities, we may often fail to acknowledge the Divine Gift and the Divine Gift Giver. God has given us The Perfect Gift (Jesus Christ) through the ultimate gift exchange. God has given us The Gift that will keep giving for all times and through eternity. “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David.” Luke 1:68-69
Good to the Last Byte…
Participate in the greatest gift exchange in your life by giving Jesus Christ YOUR LIFE. St. Augustine said it this way, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.” If you have not given your life to Him, do it today.