A few years ago I worked at a nonprofit organization (that shall remain nameless) that served low-income families in Washington, DC by providing free and affordable housing. One of the ways that the organization sought to bless the families is during the holidays, all of the housing complexes would bless the children with donated gifts. During my brief tenure there, I can remember the office being full of brand new, unopened gifts of all kinds for the children. Well, when it came time for distribution, my supervisor at the time would hold back some of the gifts or the best gifts from the children that she felt did not deserve them. Those children could have misbehaved or didn’t display a thankful attitude. Whatever the reason, they did not receive as many or the high quality gifts. As I think back to what she did to the children she deemed “undeserving”, I become angry because I wonder who does she think she is to determine whether or not children are worthy to receive donated gifts? I become angry because I didn’t stand up at the time to stop her from withholding those gifts from them.
We Are Not Worthy
As I think about this situation in relation to salvation through Jesus Christ, I am thankful that God doesn’t withhold his best gift from us. But instead, beckons all of us to come and freely receive the gift of salvation despite our sinful and depraved condition. Imagine if God sorted through each and every one of us to determine who was worthy enough to receive this gift? Since all have fallen short of the glory of God, none of us would be fit to receive God’s gift. Our works are like filthy rags. However, because of God’s unimaginable love for us, he presents us with the amazing gift of salvation through His son Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:8 (NRSV) says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”
This text lets us know that we didn’t earn salvation. Salvation is a gift from God. This text lets us know that we’re saved through faith in Christ, not by anything that we’ve done. This gift started with God. He provided the means of salvation. All we have to do is accept it.
Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t withhold His best gift from us based on our worthiness? That is a testimony to the nature of God. His love for us trumps anything that we’ve done. And like the parable of the Prodigal Son suggests, when we come to the Father, he’s waiting with open arms to present us with His best gift—His Son Jesus.