Is the Gift of God at Christmas Still Available for Anyone Who Would Receive It?
False teachers love Christmas. They can use the imagery of gift giving to promote their man-centered theology, “God gave the gift of His Son, but you must accept the gift…it’s your choice.”
False teachers would like to be Universalists (some are), but something tells them that although God loved the world, He needed His creatures to make the choice to love Him in return. This would validate Him, as being a fair God to everyone. So God sent Jesus to die for everyone because God loves everyone, so they teach. Nothing fails in the system of Universalist theology, but with man-centered theology (Arminianism), people end up in hell. So to protect God’s reputation, it is taught that God gave the choice to each person, to determine whether he or she wanted to be saved.
In the Arminian system, salvation is a commodity to be accepted or rejected by each person. It is available to anyone, possible for all people, and it only requires a yes-no decision. Salvation is sold like an insurance policy, offered to everyone, who should be wise enough to seek the gift that keeps on giving. All people are invited to receive the available gift. But is all this actually true?
It is true that Jesus Christ is the indescribable gift of God (2 Cor 9:15). He Himself is the gift of our salvation, for he who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life (Jn 3:36; 1 Jn 5:12). This life is the eternal life Jesus promised (Jn 4:14; 6:27; 10:28; 17:2, 6, 24; 1 Jn 5:11) to His chosen sheep, who belong to Him (Jn 10:27–28; 1 Cor 3:23). There is salvation in no one else, but Jesus (Acts 4:12). So salvation is all about receiving Christ (Jn 1:12), the gift of God (Eph 2:8–9).
What false teachers do not like, is Christ giving His gift of salvation exclusively to His bride, His church (Mt 16:18; Eph 5:25; Gal 6:16). In their minds, they have conceived of a Jesus who loves everyone, sacrifices Himself for everyone, but who saves no one…until they choose to accept the gift (Him). The biblical doctrine false teachers hate, more than the rest, is the biblical doctrine of election/reprobation.
Election is where God predestines His chosen people before the foundation of the world (Rom 8:30; Eph 1:4–5), to become His adopted children (Rom 8:15, 23). God gives these elect ones to Jesus as a gift (Jn 6:37), and He gives Jesus to them, as a gift (Rom 5:5). He does this according to His sovereign free will (Jn 1:13).
What is it like to give a Christmas gift to a dead man? Dead men do not accept or reject gifts. The Bible says men are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1). Just as Jesus gave Lazarus, physical life from the dead (Jn 11), so Jesus gave spiritual life from the dead, to Saul of Tarsus, on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). Neither of these men was in a position to accept or reject the grace of God unto salvation. They were both made alive, respectively.
It is the faith of those who belong to Christ (1 Cor 3:23) that apprehends this grace bestowed. Where does the gift of faith come from (Rom 12:3; Gal 3:22; 5:22; Phil 1:29; Heb 12:2)? It comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the Word of Christ, preached (Rom 10:17). It is the Holy Spirit who fills the believing preacher, to boldly proclaim the Gospel of grace. The preacher offers nothing in his presentation; rather, he tells the good news of what God has done, beginning to end, to save His chosen ones (Mt 1:21; 2 Tim 2:19).
The transfer of the gift is the work of the Holy Spirit, who is sent by God the Father and God the Son, to cause the elect to be born again of God (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3). The Spirit baptizes, regenerates, and indwells those to whom He is sent. He makes dead men come alive (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13), by giving Himself (the very life of God) to them as a gift (Rom 5:5).
The work of God, in giving Himself, as the gift of salvation, is called, “grace.” Grace abounds, even to the elect, chief of sinners, but grace does not visit all people. If it did, they would be saved because grace saves (Eph 2:8–9). There is no such thing as, “common grace,” which is a contrived, unbiblical concept. God does providentially care for His whole creation, but grace is exclusive to salvation. Salvation is an exclusive work of God so that God alone receives the glory for it.
Christian, be alert to the false gospel, preached to many this Christmas. You will hear it in a manipulative sales pitch, which burdens dead men to make choices that are not even theirs to make. Some will receive Christ this Christmas. They are those who will believe on Him, as an effectual work of God (Jn 6:29). They will believe because God ordained these to eternal life (Acts 13:48).
The gift of God at Christmas is not for everyone. It is for Christ’s church. Every person ordained to receive the gift, will absolutely receive it by God’s grace, through the work of the Holy Spirit. God’s Christmas gift to His church cannot be lost or stolen because God’s gift at Christmas was the Person, Jesus Christ.
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 24, 2021