The Greatest Gift
You don’t naturally furnish your own clothing. Reindeer and polar bears don’t need winter coats. You’re naturally as naked spiritually as you are physically. That’s what the greatest gift addresses.
A just judge imposes due penalties for crimes. The penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). But grace and mercy are another dimension of God’s doing what’s just and right. God’s justice and grace kissed at the cross. There He judged sin. The Creator, not the criminals, paid the due death penalty.
God’s righteousness came to Abraham and David apart from the law (Romans 4). God declared them righteous because of their faith. He especially reveals His righteousness in the saving work of Jesus Christ (verse 21). Knowing that isn’t enough. You must receive God’s righteousness. How?
You receive right standing with God through personally trusting in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection to deliver you from sin’s penalty and power. You trust God’s promise that He credited Jesus’ righteousness to your account. You act upon God’s word. You accept His grace. You focus the rest of your life on loving God and others.
You need God’s righteousness (verse 23). To earn God’s favor, you must be as good as Jesus. The smallest sin committed only once makes you a sinner whom God can rescue only by grace through faith.
Paul explains God’s righteousness with a legal term (verse 24). Justify means to declare righteous. God declares you righteous in this life. He does it freely. He does it by His totally unmerited and undeserved favor. But it’s real! By grace through your faith, the Judge has already declared you not guilty. No one overturns His verdict.
Paul explains God’s righteousness with a slave-market term (verse 24). To redeem a slave, one paid a deliverance price. Sin is bondage. Sinners are slaves. Christ secured the ransom to free you by the costly shedding of His blood and giving of His life in your place and for your benefit.
Paul explains God’s righteousness with a temple term (verse 25). A sacrifice of atonement refers to the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant. That was the place of atonement by animal sacrifices throughout much of Old Testament history. The term suggests God’s wrath on sin. Christ’s sacrifice was the reality of which animal sacrifices were merely a shadow. Jesus experienced God’s wrath in your place.
At the cross God reveals He’s just and the justifier of sinful people (verse 26). He judged sin there. By God’s grace through faith, you’re free. You’re dressed in Christ’s righteousness, prepared to meet a holy God face-to-face. It’s the greatest gift! Your grateful gift in return is loving and serving God and others!
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See free spiritual growth resources for Christians at https://www.christiangrowthresources.com
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