Wait a minute! In Part One, I listed five things that the Word says are the "gift of God": 1) Everlasting Life; 2) The Holy Spirit; 3) Justification; 4) Eternal Life; 5) Jesus. In Part three, I wrote that Salvation is the "gift of God." And in Part Five, I wrote the Jesus is the "gift of God." For those unfamiliar with God's Word, I must seem to be continually contradicting myself. I can almost hear them screaming, "Make up your mind. Which is it?" The answer is, all of them are the "gift of God." Of course, grammatically speaking, that would seem impossible because of the use of the definite article with each. Let me explain.
First, let me say that I am not the one who says each of the five is the "gift of God," the Bible says so. Does that mean the Bible is wrong? No! What it means is, the "gift of God" is a "packaged deal." It consists of those five things, and more. In Part One, I made it clear Ephesians 2:8 states that salvation is the gift God graciously offers to mankind. That being true, how does one explain the apparent contradiction? The answer is that the Bible, the Word of God, with all of its sixty-six books, reveals God's plan for saving His lost creation.
In Genesis, God reveals man's need to be saved. And in Genesis through Malachi, God reveals His preparation for providing salvation to fallen man. In the Gospels, God reveals His method of providing salvation: Jesus. In Acts through Revelation, God reveals His offer of salvation; He reveals the "gift" He chose to give mankind "before the foundation of the world" (Matt. 13:35; 25:34; Eph. 1:4; Heb. 4:3; 1 Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8; 17:8). One might say that the Bible is the "word picture" God has used to describe His "gift." It is "opened for us" to see before we are asked to accept "it." We do not need to accept "it" before we know whether or not we want "it." He offers Jesus, the Creator, the Son of God, the sacrificial Lamb of God, and the One resurrected to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords! When one chooses to accept Him, he receives 1) Everlasting Life; 2) The Holy Spirit; 3) Justification; 4) Eternal Life; 5) Adoption as a Child of God; 6) Salvation; and possibly the most important thing, he gets 7) Rest from Religion!
As I mentioned in Part Three, religion is the largest obstacle to being saved. Many "Christian" religions, such as Roman Catholics, Pentecostals, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the vast majority of mainline denominations add, take away, and/or distort salvation. Roman Catholicism states, “In recent years the church has reiterated again and again that we are saved by faith AND the sacraments of faith. BOTH ARE NECESSARY” (J.D. Crichton, Christian Celebration: The Sacraments, p. 65). This sounds more like a list of conditions than it describes a "free gift." The Apostle Paul said that those who "preach another Gospel" should be cursed for doing so (Gal. 1:1-9)!
To be continued, should the Lord permit.