The Greatest Gift

December 16, 2009

This season is hallmarked with so many people being blessed by their friend’s and family’s generosities. Indeed at least once a year, we look forward to unwrapping a bit of material happiness and worldly joy. However, these gifts are consistently imperfect and fleeting.  As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, the thrill inherent in a received gift is not confined to a particular season because God has given every Christian the greatest, most perfect gift ever given in the history of history.

In Acts chapter 2, God pours out this great gift on the very first Christians and in verse 38, we see how this present is unwrapped:

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the holy spirit.

Together with Romans 10:9-10, which says:

That if thou [the non-Christian] shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved [or made whole]. For with heart, man believeth unto righteousness and with mouth confession is made unto salvation.

As a human being confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and believes in his heart God truly did raise our lord and savior from the dead, that person is made whole because they receive the gift of holy spirit! God has this gift waiting for any person to open their heart and receive it. Yet holy spirit is not simply for decoration, but rather is a package containing numerous spiritual realities vital for true life.

Romans chapter 6, verses 17 – 23 illustrate the stark contrast between our lives before and after we received God’s gift.

17-18 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

“That form of doctrine” obeyed from the heart, which takes people from servants of sin to “servants of righteousness” is referring to the teaching in Romans 10:9-10 because “with the heart, man believeth (which here is called obeying) unto righteousness”.

19-22  I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.  For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.  What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.  But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Verses 19 – 22 point out the difference between a life serving sin (the rap sheet being unrighteousness, shame, uncleanness and death) and a life with God entailing holiness and everlasting life.

Then verse 23,

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

You can work your whole life serving sin, and all the wages, detriments and retirement plans awarded to you is summed up in death. But God, in His grace and infinite love, sent Christ to die and be raised again so that we can receive the gift of God! Here, part of the packaged gift God gave us is eternal life, the ultimate victory over death.

Eternal life would be enough to make this gift from God to us worth more than the sum of all the other gifts ever given, yet God included so much more. He knows how to give a gift that is above and beyond!  In I Corinthians 12:7, we can see another enormous benefit to His gift.

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

There are a couple points to this verse that, once shown, truly open up how powerful and meaningful this verse is to every believer. First, in the original God inspired Word, there were no capitalizations. Here the capitalization of the word “Spirit” was added by translators many centuries later and implies this word is referring to God. However, the capitalization should be omitted because this “spirit” is referring to the spirit we read about in Acts chapter 2, i.e. the gift of holy spirit of which we have been learning. Another important point to notice is the word “man” is not exclusive to human males but rather to all mankind and certainly includes women. One final point to be understood is this verse proceeds the complete listing of all nine manifestations the gift of holy spirit: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, workings of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues (see I Corinthians 12:8 – 10). We know by I Corinthians 12:11 that all nine of these manifestations can be operated by every person as that person wills to operate them. Therefore, here in verse 7, the word “manifestation” (in the singular tense) does not mean that only one manifestation is given to every person with the gift of holy spirit (every Christian) but rather is a figure of speech to demonstrate the unity of the manifestations – they all work together.

With this understanding, how awesome is the gift of God to us today! All of these power-packed manifestations with their various profits are given to ever one of us! We can all speak in tongues. We can all interpret tongues. We can all prophecy. We can all operate the manifestations discerning of spirits, word of knowledge and word of wisdom. We can all utilize the manifestation of faith. We can all impart gifts of healing. We can all work miracles. And all these manifestations work together so that we, the believer, can have a successful walk/relationship with our Heavenly Father. All of this is possible because God has given us a gift: the gift of holy spirit!

In James chapter 1 verse 17 we read:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

The gift of holy spirit fits the bill as good and perfect gift which God has given to us! And furthermore, the same God who gave us these promises in the Bible, written near 2000 years ago, has “no variableness, neither shadow of turning” in Him. Simply put, God is the same gracious, loving and giving God He was when the Word of God was written down without even the slightest hint of an angstrom of change. All the facts we’ve read apply today and the same God of the Bible is our God. We can rely fully on this good and perfect gift of holy spirit because God Almighty has given it to us.

Let us conclude in II Corinthians 9:15,

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

The word here “unspeakable” is the Greek word “anekdiēgētos” which means indescribable.  Here, the indescribable gift is this fantastic gift of holy spirit.

Throughout this gift giving season, people will be receiving gifts from other people wrapped in paper and set under trees and we are all thankful for the generosity of those who give.  However, how much more are we thankful to God for the gift He gave to us that cannot even be encapsulated by words.  So this December and indeed in all other seasons, let us bring to mind the greatest gift ever given – the gift God gave to you and to me – the gift of holy spirit.

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