Anyone else have gifts on the brain today? Ones I need to find, make, order, wrap or hide. In fact, the UPS truck just drove by. Apparently, he forgot to leave mine.
But it didn’t surprise me when the word gift jumped out at me as I read from Romans 5. I was surprised however, to find it five times in three verses. Perhaps Paul’s Christmas list was weighing on his mind too. Okay, perhaps not.
Regardless, he keeps referring to something specifically called “the gift” even before he fully defines it. But he draws repeated comparisons to it in verses 15-17. See what I mean:
“But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” Romans 5:15
Then, he rewords the comparison in the next verse:
“Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and bought justification.” vs. 16
So, how do they compare? Well, their outcomes are complete polar opposites: one produces death to the masses, the other life; one brings condemnation, and the other justification. (Justification is well defined by a little ditty I learned years ago- “just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned.”)
Which gift would you want under your tree? Death, anyone? No, of course not. Now let’s see the third comparison in vs 17:
“For if by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.”
And, in case the whole “death reigning” thing is upsetting you, remember the beauty and potency of grace is best seen against the backdrop of what it had to overcome. On that note, let’s define grace. The Greek word here is charis and means the “absolute freeness of the lovingkindness of God to man, finding its only motive in the bounty and freeheartedness of the Giver; unearned and unmerited favor.” 1
So, the moment has arrived and the gifts are being passed out. The best-looking package makes its way to you. Why? Because heaven’s “Freehearted Giver” said so. What does it hold? Well, that’s “God’s abundant provision of grace.”
No one can open it for you. Oh, please don’t miss out.