There is no quid pro quo with God’s gift

There are no strings attached with God’s gift of salvation. It is given freely to all who are willing to receive it.

“We’ve got a Christmas gift for you.”

That was the subject line of an email I received from a local retailer the other day.

I like gifts as much as the next person, so I opened the email to find that the retailer wanted to “give” me a beautiful, tree-shaped candy dish (“regularly $16.99,” the email noted) provided I bought $50 or more of merchandise.

It turns out my “gift” wasn’t a gift at all.

That’s because a gift is only a gift when it is freely given.

There are no strings attached with a true gift.

To steal a much-heard phrase these days, there is no quid pro quo.

I find it ironic that the retailer’s “gift” was offered during a season that celebrates the birth of the greatest gift giver of all time, Jesus Christ.

Jesus, God’s son, came to earth in human form so that he could offer us the gift of salvation through the shedding of his blood and his death on the cross. For it took sacrificing a perfect, sinless man, Jesus, to atone for and put to death the sins of imperfect, sinful beings such as me and you.

With true gifts, the gift giver pays the price for the gift. The recipient pays nothing.

It is the same with God’s gift of salvation. God loves us deeply and wants meaningful relationships with each of us, but a sinless, holy God cannot have relationships with sinful beings. Jesus paid the price to restore our relationship with God by giving his own life to cancel out our sins “once for all,” as it says in the Book of Hebrews.

There are no strings attached with God’s gift of salvation. It is given freely to all who are willing to receive it.

Therein lays the catch, and it is true of all gifts.

A gift only becomes of value when someone receives it, opens it and puts it to good use.

Have you ever made or bought a gift for someone, only to have the person say, “I really can’t accept that.” Or they accept it, but you know they never intend to use it.

How disappointing it is to the gift giver.

God feels the same way when it comes to the gift of salvation.

I do not presume to know your relationship with God. If you already have received his gift of salvation, I hope you’ll consider sharing this post with someone else. And if you have not, it isn’t too late to say “yes” to receiving a gift you will never want to return.

This is my Christmas gift to you. Thanks for opening it. Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!