A gift for you

Image credit: Hazeltons

This is the time to remember why we have an Easter holiday. Delicious though they are, it?s not about chocolate eggs and bunnies. The essence of Easter is in a gift given all year round.

God doesn?t want anyone to perish when we go from this life to the next. No matter what troubles we get ourselves into, or how far away we are from God, he still offers us the gift of forgiveness. Quote.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. 

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.? End of quote.

John 3:16-17 | NIV Bible

Not only do we receive eternal life: in lieu of the bonus steak knives, our free gift is freedom from the compulsion to sin. This is indeed a great mystery. How can we be instantly transformed from desiring evil to preferring to do good? The apostle Paul, formerly known as Saul, explains his miraculous conversion. Quote.

I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.

?About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ?Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me??

??Who are you, Lord?? I asked.???I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,? he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.??

?What shall I do, Lord?? I asked.???Get up,? the Lord said, ?and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.? My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.? End of quote.

Acts 22:4-11 | NIV

My conversion was nowhere near as extraordinary as Paul?s, but it had the same essential elements. God revealed himself with an overwhelming sense of being loved, despite knowing I was unworthy of it. I accepted that the gift of Jesus’ death on the cross cancelled my transgressions. Like Paul?s conversion, this happened in the blink of an eye when I saw things very differently. Spiritual blindness was replaced by an appetite for and an insight into the scriptures, feasting on the word of God.

Paul was physically blinded in his encounter with God and his transformation entailed becoming one of the followers of Jesus Christ that he had been pursuing, torturing and imprisoning.

Early Christians had no access to public buildings; they met in homes and travelled widely to spread the good news. Paul is thought to have been five years old when Jesus died, so after his conversion he learned from the men and women who had heard the word directly from Jesus.

Time has passed and the Christian faith has become tangled in the trappings of religion and church hierarchy and in varying doctrines and practices. Sects have emerged and scriptural truths compromised, and yet the simplicity of the gospel is still to be found in the Scriptures. It is accessible to anyone with a Bible and a desire to learn. Quote.

Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.? End of quote.

Revelation 22:17 | NIV

Keep the spirit of Easter alive all year round by remembering and sharing the best gift of all… forgiveness.