A Pure Gift!

A Pure Gift!

Feb 25, 2015

Bill Probasco

SDB Conference President 2015






The month of March is a changing time. We’re heading out of winter and starting to look toward a spring thaw. Yet as I write this, the Northeast is bracing for a major snow storm. My state’s governor has declared a State of Emergency; roads are being treated for icy conditions; businesses are shutting down; and snow is falling. But the really cool part for my family is school is cancelled in the morning. That means my kids, as well as my wife (who provides speech services at a school), all get off tomorrow. It’s a “free day.” Even I might not have to go to work, meaning that I get a free day also — and I don’t have to take a vacation day to do it. Awesome!

We haven’t done anything special to deserve our free day. I can’t save up and turn in enough box tops to get snow. My wife can’t get out the calendar for next month and say, “Here, I’m going to have a snow day here.” No matter how hard my kids think “snow,” it’s beyond their control to make it snow (which is a good thing really, or we’d be snowed in weekly from December through March!).

Thinking about our unexpected free day got me thinking about how awesome it is to receive something unexpected, something you haven’t necessarily earned. As Christians, does anything in particular come to mind? Certainly God has shed His grace on us, despite our being unworthy. It’s how He shares His steadfast love with each of us. We’re sinful, imperfect — woefully inadequate of anything God should bestow — yet He offers redemption to all. Being truthful, we should be punished for our imperfections, our “less than impressive” lives. We deserve nothing less than punishment. But instead we receive God’s mercy. We deserve punishment, but don’t get it (His mercy), and instead we get forgiven when we deserve damnation (His grace).




Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” We receive the gift from God. It’s given to us, unearned, as it says, so no one could boast. As much as my kids might pray for a snow day, they know they can’t take credit for getting off from school. “Hey, you know that snow day yesterday… that was me.”… That’s not how it works.

The Message Bible sums it up this way in Romans chapter 3: Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. I like the way that passage states it. Why does God do this? Out of “sheer generosity,” i.e. mercy. And how does he do it? “By means of Jesus Christ,” shedding His grace on us.

So, the next time there’s a winter storm warning rolling through your hometown, think of it as an opportunity to share about God’s steadfast love for all His children. Without even having to cite scripture, reference a Bible story, or share a memory verse, the lesson of a snow day stands out as a quick and easy example for explaining to kids (of all ages) what it means to receive God’s grace: “You know, instead of going to school (or work) today and worrying about homework, tests, and what the teacher will make you learn, you don’t have to worry about any of that! Stay home, sleep in, relax, play with toys… and you know what you did to deserve this? Nothing…but that’s OK. Sometimes we get wonderful things we haven’t done anything to earn. That’s sort of like God’s love for us…”

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