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Monday: God ~ The Giver of All Good Gifts — 11 Comments

  1. Yesterday, we talked about the diversity of gifts, skills, talents, etc and how they can be used together in the project of salvation. The text I quoted came from 1 Corinthians 12 and if you read the text carefully you will see that the theme of that scripture is unfinished. It's one of those places in the Bible which demonstrates that chapter divisions are there for reference purposes only. The "Better Way" alluded to in chapter 12 is, of course, described in 1 Corinthians 13 which we all know as the great chapter on selfless love.

    Today we are asked to think about God as the giver of all good gifts and I want to tie that idea to the great theme that "God is Love". The phrase itself is only used a couple of times in the Bible, although most of us will agree that the theme is there whether the words are used or not.

    In preparation for my comment today, I read 1 John 4. There are some real gems in this chapter and I am not going to run a spoiler and quote them all here. But I will include this one:

    He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 1 John 4:8 KJV

    And there it is, in black and white: "God is Love". but it has a rider, that if we don't love, we don't know God.

    God has given us all these diverse skills as we were reminded in yesterday's lesson, but unless we have his love to bind those skills together, they are of no more value than everybody scratching themselves where they itch.

    And what is the role of the Holy Spirit in all of this? I contend that the Holy Spirit has no voice if we mask it with our own self-interest. To give the Holy Spirit a voice we need to share the selfless love of God to those around us. The Holy Spirit is both the enabler and the voice.

  2. The Triune God is so generous, the Father gave His Son, Jesus sent us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit gives us Gifts so we can share the Good News that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
    Just as Jesus started His public ministry saying the time is fulfilled (Dan 9:24-27) repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, (Mark 1:15) so is our message the hour of His judgment is come (Rev 14:7) worship the Creator who will set up a Kingdom that will never end (Dan 2:44)
    What is the gift we can share with others? What is the Good News?
    It is the gift of a loving Saviour who gives us a reason for living and hope of a future in a perfect harmonious earth made new.

  3. God is the embodiment of Love. There is no greater gift than the love of God. As followers of Christ it behooves us to share/spread the love of the Most High. As the Lord freely gives so we must freely give love in our daily life.

    • Very well said! Thank God who freely gives us our talents too. We are not to receive more if we do not work with the ones we already have! Why would He? Life itself, time, family, friends and LOVE! Everything is a talent, besides all things we are so natural at doing so for the good of others! If we desire for more, let us multiply what we already have!

  4. God will gift all who are in His service. We should also consider Acts 2:38 which is very important to remember how we become servants of God by faith(ok, I see this text is included below). Both the law and the gospel present conditions, or requirements, that we must meet. A mere profession means nothing without repentance and faith, which Christ requires from all “who have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”(Mark 1:15, Matt 16:24, etc).

    In one of the references given in the 2nd question, the Holy Spirit was given before baptism. Interesting to consider why isn't it? The instructions are clear enough and by faith all can receive the Gift and grace of God by repenting and believing the “exceeding great and precious promises of God” and partake of His Divine nature(2 Pe 1:4).

    • "Both the law and the gospel present conditions, or requirements, that we must meet. A mere profession means nothing without repentance and faith, which Christ requires from all “who have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”

      That sounds so legalistic to me. If God places "conditions, or requirements, that we must meet" on our Salvation, then it isn't really a gift is it? (Romans 6:23).

      Who brought Saul of Tarsus and Jonah to repentance? (2 Timothy 2:25; Acts 11:18; Romans 2:4; Acts 5:31)

      Where does our faith come from? (Romans 12:3; Ephesians 2:8)

      “Repentance, as well as forgiveness, is the gift of God through Christ.” – Faith and Works 38.2

      “Many are confused as to what constitutes the first steps in the work of salvation. Repentance is thought to be a work the sinner must do for himself in order that he may come to Christ. They think that the sinner must procure himself a fitness in order to obtain the blessing of God’s grace. But while it is true that repentance must precede forgiveness, for it is only the broken and contrite heart that is acceptable to God, yet the sinner cannot bring himself to repentance, or prepare himself to come to Christ.... The very first step to Christ is taken through the drawing of the Spirit of God; as man responds to this drawing, he advances toward Christ in order that he may repent....

      When before the high priests and Sadducees, Peter clearly presented the fact that repentance is the gift of God. Speaking of Christ, he said, “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Repentance is no less the gift of God than are pardon and justification, and it cannot be experienced except as it is given to the soul by Christ. If we are drawn to Christ, it is through His power and virtue. The grace of contrition comes through Him, and from Him comes justification.

      Who is desirous of becoming truly repentant? What must he do? He must come to Jesus, just as he is, without delay. He must believe that the word of Christ is true, and, believing the promise, ask, that he may receive. When sincere desire prompts men to pray, they will not pray in vain. The Lord will fulfill His word, and will give the Holy Spirit to lead to repentance.... With prayer he [the repentant sinner] will mingle faith, and not only believe in but obey the precepts of the law.... He will renounce all habits and associations that tend to draw the heart from God.”
      -The Faith I Live By by Ellen G. White

      • During my college years I was living from hand to mouth. On my birthday, I found a birthday "gift" on my front lawn. It was a used car with a ribbon wrapped around it. The only hitch was a price tag of $500 which I didn't have.

        That weekend I took my 2 young children to St. Louis in my "new" car. On the way back the muffler fell off, the whole car shook and I almost didn't make it home.

        I returned the car to the original owner and said "thank you but I can't afford your gift."

        That is what makes God's gift so amazing. If we had to earn it, no one could afford it. Indeed, by trying to earn it, we reject His grace and thereby lose His gift (Galatians 3:2-3 NLT).

      • Sieg, in your reading of scripture, do you ever see the words "if" or "when"? What does Peter say in Acts 2:38? What does Jesus say in Matthew 16:24, Mark 1:15, John 8:24, and what did He mean when often saying: "go and sin no more"?

        Notice the parables of Jesus and realize He makes clear these "requirements", or evidences of faith. Can one be forgiven without repentance? Does one receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit without repentance, baptism, or conversion?

        Remember the blind man who had mud smeared on his eyes and told to go wash in a certain pool, would he have been healed if he had not washed? Would Naaman have been cured of leprosy if he had dipped only once, or even 6 times, or not at all?

        The only requirement is faith/belief, but it is to be demonstrated. Mere profession is meaningless if there is no exercise and evidence of faith. See also Genesis 22.

        I would also share this from Ellen:

        "Christ’s favorite theme was the paternal tenderness and abundant grace of God; He dwelt much upon the holiness of His character and His law; He presented Himself to the people as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Let these be the themes of Christ’s ministers. Present the truth as it is in Jesus. Make plain the requirements of the law and the gospel. Tell the people of Christ’s life of self-denial and sacrifice; of His humiliation and death; of His resurrection and ascension; of His intercession for them in the courts of God; of His promise, “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself.”" John 14:3. {COL 40.2}

      • Hi Sieg - yes, I agree that there seems to be still confusion about what draws us to Christ's Light in the first place, and what keeps us there. If we think to have come to the Light by 'choice' or because of rightful deeds, we misunderstand that no one can come to Jesus unless he is drawn by God, first. John 6:44
        After being presented with the Heavenly Light, then we have a choice to accept it or to reject it. Those that accept it start the walk of Faith. This starts with being now made spiritually aware of the old sin-nature and being given the willingness to change - we repent after the Spirit has made us aware of issues hindering our relationship with Him.
        Everything following our faith-acceptance of Salvation is prompted by the Holy Spirit and agreed to freely by the believer's choice when applying His guidance to his/her life.

        Ideally, no more obedience is necessary because we, by faith, engage/participate willingly and whole-heartedly into reforming/rebuilding our relationship with the Holy Spirit residing in us; seeking and welcoming every guidance from Him.

        If struggles come, it is when flesh does not want to yield to Spirit; then it is better to remain faithful(obey) than to give in to temptation.
        Stay strong in your God-given Faith and this your Father will increase your love for Him exponentially. 🙂

  5. Usually, Rom.5:8 is quoted to point out the great love God the Father has for us when He saved us whiles we were still sinners. I want to focus on 'Why' the gifts are given, 'how' they impact us and others and their necessity to be manifested in all believers.
    These, from heaven-sent spiritually defined gifts, are essential for the new believer that lives by faith and is being formed into the image of God in Christ. We are now citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven whiles still living on earth. Our new, spiritual identity is being developed in our body of flesh.
    2Cor.5:15-18 - We are a new creation. Our heavenly Father is giving us all good, spiritual gifts to create in us the new nature. This must happen; there cannot be a half-transformed Christian! The old nature must be removed from governing our daily lives.

    These gifts, if properly employed spiritually in service to others, establish in us the new governing relationship with the indwelling Holy Spirit.
    Gal.2:20 - 'self', the old identity, dies so Christ in us may live in its place.
    Phil.2:12-15 - Through faith, in the Spirit of God's Love, we work out our Salvation.
    Titus 2:8 - As we engage in 'good works', this establishes our new nature - a new identity which is focused on service to others rather than service to self.

    God declared to work during this time of earth for one purpose only - to reconcile the world unto Himself before the great and terrible day of the LORD will come! We need to always keep this in mind when living as a Christian.
    If we are willing and submit to the Work of the Holy Spirit, everything we do, say, think or feel will be transformed to reflect more and more the image of God in Christ in us.
    The fringe benefit is that these gifts benefit us and others in our temporal life; but their real purpose is spiritual, to point to the Giver of the Gifts who wants to draw mankind to be reconciled to Himself - make them into His Image so that man may live for His honor and Glory.

    Heb.12:1-6 - We are exhorted to stay faithful, to finish the race for the prize of the life promised to those who diligently maintain their relationship with God by faithfully submitting to allow the indwelling Holy Spirit to do His work in us.


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