The Conditions on Unconditional Love:
Sunday, we talked about how the incarnation of Christ is the greatest gift this world has ever known; but that doesn’t mean everyone receives it. There is a part that we have to play when it comes to our salvation. It is a free gift and not ours to earn, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a part to play in receiving that gift. I came across this illustration when I was researching for my sermon, and I think it makes the point well.
Think about it this way. My two older children are both driving now. Trinity has her restricted license and will soon have her full license. Truitt has his learner’s permit. When a teen turns 14 years old in the state of South Dakota, they are automatically eligible to apply for a permit. They have the power available to become licensed drivers.
But just because you’re 14 years old, you aren’t automatically given the privilege of driving. You have to study, go into the DMV, go back to the DMV because you inevitably forgot one of the forms of ID you need at home, take the test, pass the test, pay the fee and then you just have your permit. From that point, there are more hoops to jump through, and rules about when you can drive and who you can drive with. There is the option at any point to take driver’s education, but you have to pay for that. Oh yeah…you also need a car.
Not only that, you have to choose to drive. You have to want it enough to do all the things it takes to get a license. And honestly, a lot of teenagers don’t make that choice. But the power to get a license, that’s freely given to you at 14. It’s available to you. It’s freely offered, but there are still things you need to do. You still have a part to play.
Christmas is rooted in God’s unconditional love. He loves you so much. He longs for you to choose a relationship with Him. He loves you so much He sent His son Jesus to earth to die in your place. The incarnation is just the setup. The cross- that’s the real gift. His gift of grace is unconditional, but you have a part to play in receiving it.
“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33 NLT)
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.
(Romans 10:9-10 NLT)
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.
(Galatians 3:26-27 NLT)
All of these scriptures and more point to one truth: God is offering the gift of His son. But you have to receive it. Don’t let this gift pass you by. Don’t go through life with the most meaningful gift being freely offered to you and doing nothing. Receive the gift. If you want to talk to a Pastor about how to do this, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.