God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Ephesians 2:8)
According to the dictionary, a gift is a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present. Everyone is always excited when they receive a gift. In the world we live in today gifts are always wrapped up in wrappers. We had a gift exchange session in one of our community meetings, there were a few ribbons and wrappers all over the place after all the gifts had been distributed. People had opened their various gifts and were excited about what was inside. There were a lot of thank you and happiness and joy because they had all received a gift. In that scenario, everyone had accepted the gifts but did we really accept the gifts I thought to myself; remembering the story of a homeless man who had just been willed $19million dollars, his name was Gray, a half great-nephew of Huguette Clark, who had an estimated fortune of about $300million. He was handed an envelope containing the inheritances which he was meant to inherit but he never got to open the envelope. The full story is unclear as he was homeless and not so many people knew how he got the envelope. Perhaps, he knew what was in the envelope or maybe he did not, but it is certain that he never got the gift. The same with many Christians today, we know all the stories about Jesus, we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and savior, but we are yet to receive Christ, The Holy Spirt and in turn the Kingdom which He brought. Whenever a gift is given, there must be a receiver and a giver.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that we may have eternal life” (John 3:16)
Isaiah 9:6 says;
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
We have to be aware at the distinctions in the verse, a born child, and a given son. In this short post, we will try to unpack the packages in the son and understand what it means to unwrap the child.
In doing this I will like to explain this using a physical gift. Like the gift below, most of the time a gift is a contained in a box or a container and then wrapped. The wrapper is mostly useless but the container is though not the real gift but then it is part of the gift. In our community meeting, I gave a chocolate box like the one shown in figure 1 below and it was wrapped not exactly like the one in figure 2 below but am sure you get the story.
Looking at this wonderful Thornton box, the container contains things like where it was made, nutritional contents, the weight of the box and a whole lot of promises, there is one other thing that strikes me about it and that is the trademark name. I am sure you might be thinking where I am going with this. I will explain in a moment.
Sometimes, theology can be so difficult and trying to explain it to anyone else seems like you are devoid of logic. One common concept obviously that seems illogical to explain at least to most people is how Jesus could be 100% man and God at the same time. It is extremely difficult but if we come down to life itself we have been dealing with a whole lot of illogicality for a long time without knowing. There are a lot of things that fits this concept but just because we haven’t thought about it does not mean this concept does not exist. One of such is my Thornton Chocolate box. The most important thing in this box is the chocolate, it is obviously no good holding on to the box without having the content. However, I will ask a simple question is the chocolate complete without the box? Obviously not. The box makes up the chocolate, though the chocolate is the most important thing, the box makes it complete. Is the container the chocolate then? No, it obviously not but the box makes the Thornton Chocolate complete. Every chocolate manufacturer obviously strives to make the perfect box, because they know that a perfect box could get more customers . I will ask one more question now, is the Thornton Chocolate box 100% part of a Thornton Chocolate and 100% a box ? I will leave that open for a debate. Think about anything else a juice, a pen, a laptop even an operating system of a computer where we have the input and the output.
We already discussed what the container of my Thornton Chocolate box contained let us now see what Jesus the Son of man (i.e The child in Isaiah 9:6) contained. Jesus had a perfect life according to Father’s standards (1 Peter 2:22), He told us where He was from (John 16:28), He showed us the content of what he was going to give us, i.e the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-11) to name a few , He gave us a whole lot of promises of what is to come and most importantly promised us eternal life (John 11:26 among other scriptural verses), He told us the weight of what he shall carry and prayed that if it is the father’s will let this cup pass over Him but still carried it and dispersed it to all of mankind (Matthew 26:39) and most importantly He carried the trademark of the manufacturer (John 8:58).
At this juncture, one might ask oh what happened to the wrapper? Very interesting this one. The answer lies in 2 Corinthians 5:1-3; For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. The death of the child (Isaiah 9:6) was the wrapper being taken out and the resurrection the opening of the box. It was only after this that men could finally receive the gifts and the seed of God could be planted in the hearts of men to bear fruits.
So What is in the Package?
There is a lot of goodies in the gifts left for us by Christ that I will not and cannot mention all. I have experienced some and I know that even if I experience a million a day till I die what will be left for me to experience will be infinite. I will list some with some scriptural references but one needs to go find out for themselves and search. A life which is lived according to the experiences of God’s given packages ultimately leads to a life that identifies with Christ. Therefore some of the packages includes:
- The gifts of the Spirit (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10)
- The fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)
- The Holy Spirit Himself which gives us divine direction, counsellorship, guidance and a whole lot more. (John 16:13, Acts 2:17)
- The ability to ask, seek and find. (Matthew 7:7)
- The ability to have a personal relationship with God. (John 16:13,Acts 2:17)
- A heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)
- A healthy life and peace that passes human comprehension (John 14:27, Isaiah 53:5)
- Eternal life (John 3:16, John 11:26)
- Supernatural Boldness (Just take a look at the before and after life of Peter).
- It gives life a meaning ( John 11:25-26, John 8:12, John 14:6)
- Ability to do great works (John 14:12)
All of these gifts really is the package within the package. Christ left us with the Holy Spirit which needs to be equally unwrapped. Though God unwrapped Jesus we have to unwrap the Spirit (Work with the Spirit of God in us). We can only have access to the gifts given by God when we get born again. When we do, we are given the whole gift of Jesus and as we continually read and try to understand we first unwrap for ourselves, open the container and then start to experience the Holy Spirit when we start to eat of the gifts God has given us through Christ. Unwrapping is knowing, understanding is removing the container and wisdom is making use of the gifts.
So what do we have? We have an already opened gift given to us by grace because we did not deserve it. 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells His grace is sufficient for you. Like Gray who walked around with his gift and never opened the envelope, we have Christians who are satisfied with Jesus but have not yet opened Christ (i.e have not yet to experience the workings of the Holy Spirit). They know Jesus but have not stretched out their hands to take their share of God’s given gifts given to us by grace. My Thornton Chocolate has an expiry date but Christ does not. However, we do have an expiry date as all of us will die. When we have expired we would have lost the chance to grab our share of the gift of God to all of mankind. Shalom!