Greatest Gift

Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. [Matthew 5:8 ESV]

God gives.  Even to those who actively rebel He gives common grace. He has given His image to those He created setting humans apart from all other creation. He gave us a world in which to live. Were it not for the presence and influence of sin we would have no cares. We would have pleasant work, fulfilling relationships, accomplishing an eternal purpose.

But there is sin, an undeniable truth, an ever-present reality. Death, the obvious consequence of the corruption of sin, is certain. To overcome and defeat sin God gave His Son, the pure for the impure, the righteous for the unrighteous, dying to ensure life for those who are God’s. Everyone is called by God, the call inherent in the image of God which draws them toward their Creator. Yet, not everyone responds, even for a moment, in obedience. This is a mystery.

For a moment Abraham believed God, understood the evidence of His Creator, trusted His promise to give a son and obeyed Him, for a moment. “And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness” [Genesis 15:8 ESV]. Then for another moment of faith. These moments were interspersed with periods filled with acts of rebellion and a lack of faith. And then more moments and longer periods of faith. Looking at the life of Abraham suggests God blessed him, not for who he is or would be, not for his history, past or future, but for a single moment of faith.  Abraham did nothing for God’s blessing. God wanted to bless him, to give him a great and eternal gift. For a moment which grew to more moments then to a life, Abraham believed God.

Abraham did not will himself to believe. He believed, I think, because the image of God in him responded to his Creator in the way he was designed.

God’s gift is all of Himself. He gave His image as an integral part of each person. He gave His Son, a sacrifice determined and designed from eternity to restore every sundered relationship. He gave His Spirit to those who for a moment responded to the intimate drawing of His image in them to the truth and reality of the sacrifice of Jesus, the Christ.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. [John 14:16-17 ESV]

It is He, the Spirit of God, who lives within the Christian, those who receive God’s gift of Himself. He is called the Helper, the Counselor, the Comforter, the Guide.  He convicts of sin and directs the thoughts and words and steps of those who listen and respond as is natural to the image of God in them. Conviction comes to those, all of us, who continue to respond according to the sin nature. Joy and peace come to those, all of us, who respond to God with their whole being, which includes the image of God and the Spirit of God in them.

A moment of rebellion brought sin and separation. A moment of agony brought the greatest gift ever given. A moment of faith brings eternal intimacy with God.

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