What gift do you hope to receive this Christmas? Certainly our attention is on gifts this time of year. We have our lists, our budgets and many of us are off to the stores this weekend to pick up last minute gifts.
As we continue our Advent series, Paul reminds us that we have already received the greatest gift possible. As Paul begins his letter to the Romans, he reminds them of his role. He understands his role as servant/slave of Jesus and called to proclaim the good news (gospel) to the Gentiles.
(Romans 1:1–2 NIV) Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God — the gospel
He describes himself as having received grace and apostleship to extend this good news to the people at Rome. The word grace is the Greek word charis. It is often translated as gift. It is a very common word in the New Testament; it is one of Paul’s favorite words. The word is used 155 times in the New Testament; Paul uses it 100 times (24 times in the book of Romans alone). Romans has more occurrences of this word than any other book in the Bible.
What is charis (grace/gift)? It is by definition something that we do not deserve. If we have earned it, it is not a gift. How has charis been manifested? Notice verse 6,
(Romans 1:6 NIV) And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
As we prepare for Christmas (buying gifts), may we remember that we have received an incredible gift through Jesus. We now belong to Him. It might sound a bit cliche-ish to say something like Jesus is the Reason for the Season or The Greatest Gift of all is Jesus . . . Yet it is important to remind ourselves that our lives in Christ are a gift. Any worldly gift we give or receive this season is pale in comparison to this truth. May we not forget it.
Join us on Sunday as we explore Romans 1:1–7. Also, don’t forget the Christmas Eve Candlelight/Communion service at 7:00 PM on Tuesday.