We are about to embark on an incredible journey, exploring an indescribable gift. Our journey has two goals: To clearly emphasize that God has given us an astounding gift and for us to enjoy it throughout our lives and eternity.
â€śIf you knew the gift of God . . .â€ť (John 4:10). Jesus stated this to a despised outcast. In that culture it was not common for a man to publicly converse with a woman, let alone with a hated Samaritanâ€”a mixed race, despised by Jews. Yet, Jesus did so. Why? He did not follow cultural norms because Godâ€™s gift is for everyone! He welcomes anyone who simply desires His indescribable gift. That is good news!
The Bible illustrates the receiving of Godâ€™s gift as the quenching of our thirst. During a hot summer day, we want to satisfy our longing with something cold and refreshing. Just like our physical cravings, we seek to satisfy the thirst of our heart. God created us with a void only He can fill. When Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman, He stated that He alone can truly satisfy our very being. That was something she was looking for.
Money, power, possessions, fame, health, and many other things do not necessarily quench the longings of our heart. Even if they do so for a lifetime, they will not do so throughout eternity. For when we die we leave everything. Our choice is actually not between a lifetime of happiness and after-death happiness. It is about true, lasting happiness and surrogate happiness. Do we prefer the momentary that at most lasts for a lifetime? Or do we desire true and lasting happiness throughout our lifetime and eternity? Since I want to be as clear as possible, here are the basics:
(1) We have been created for the enjoyment of Godâ€™s glory, which gives real satisfaction. For example, the enjoyment of a car can only be experienced when we use it according to its design, not when we try to use it as a boat.
(2) We live primarily for ourselves and do not want to submit to Godâ€™s design for our lives. Consequently, we are sinners. To sin means to miss the goal for why we exist.
(3) Our Creator is holy and just, far beyond our finite understanding. We are accountable to Him, whether we like it or not. Since He is just, He will punish every sin. As a result, we deserve eternal separation from Him when we die.
(4) Because â€śGod is loveâ€ť (1 John 4:16), He sent Jesus to die for our sins and suffer our punishment so that we can be freely forgiven and fully accepted. That is the gospel!
(5) In order to receive Godâ€™s gift, we need to turn to Jesus by faith as our only hope for salvation. We need to put our trust in who He is and what He has accomplished in His death on the cross, rising from the grave on the third day.
(6) As a result, we are saved from our sins and have the eternal enjoyment of God: â€śIn your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermoreâ€ť (Ps. 16:11). While we have now only a taste of what will be, we are saved in this assurance.
Throughout these pages you will find some to-the-point-language about our sins. When our doctor finds some disturbing news about a growing cancer, do we want to hear it, or do we prefer to remain ignorant? Obviously it is far better to discover the cancer in the beginning stages when something can still be done about it.
The same is true with our sins. We can ignore our heartâ€™s disease, or acknowledge it and seek the God-given cure. If we ignore the facts, it will be to our eternal detrimentâ€”to reject Godâ€™s truth is to embrace deception. If, however, we acknowledge the reality of our sins and their dreadful consequences, we can still apply the lasting cure God provided through Jesus. That is why to-the-point-language about our sins is an expression of Godâ€™s love. He does not want us to experience the devastating results of our heartâ€™s disease.
True love means warning others of imminent danger. Therefore, God does not ignore our sins and just â€śloveâ€ť us anyway; rather, He expressed His love by giving His Son to die for our sins and urging us to trust in Him. Furthermore, His grace is always greater than our sins: â€śWhere sin increased, grace abounded all the moreâ€ť (Rom. 5:20). No matter how serious our case might be, Jesus is willing and able to save us.
Each devotional has a different Bible verse, but declares the same good news. We do not find fault with one who, each day, faithfully takes the same medication. Rather, that would be a wise thing to do. The same is true for our spiritual wellbeing. Every day we need a good dose of the gospel. We are to live and walk in its truths. Paul stated we are to â€śhold fast to the word I preached to youâ€ťâ€”the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-2). Also, since the gospel is ultimately Godâ€™s message of salvation, I have used numerous Bible verses to highlight His glorious truth.
Whether you are a believer or someone who has never considered Jesus Christ, I hope this introduction has persuaded you to start our journey, to either discover in greater measure or for the very first time. Even if you still doubt its truth, do take time to consider the good news of Godâ€™s incredible gift. Why neglect such a gift? Perhaps your perception of Christianity has been severely distorted? My challenge to you is to read these devotionals. May the Lord bless them!