THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD Lesson #20
The Gifts Of God 1 Timothy 6:17
It is the character of God to give. Paul tells us that the living God is one “who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” Isn’t that amazing? God alone owns everything. God alone has the absolute rights of sovereignty and ownership over all things. Yet, God who owns and controls all things, “giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” This is another aspect of God’s character that transcends reason. Truly, his thoughts are not our thoughts, and his ways are not our ways! We have, by sin, attempted to rob God of everything. Yet he stoops to give us everything! This word of grace is addressed to “us”, to us who believe, to us who are born of God, to us who are God’s elect. To the wicked and unbelieving, God has reserved nothing, but wrath. But to his own elect, the Lord God “giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” It is the character of God to give. And here are nine things God has freely given to every believer. If you now trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your only, all-sufficient Savior, God has given you these nine great gifts of grace.
1. THE GIFT OF HIS SON.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given” (Isa. 9:6). “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15). The supreme gift of God’s love is the gift of his own dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be our Savior (1 John 4:9-10). God gave his Son to be our Surety in the covenant of grace before the world began (Isa 49:8). He gave his Son to be our substitutionary Sacrifice upon the cross (John 3:16). And God gave his Son to be our Savior in the new birth. When a sinner is saved by the grace of God, Christ is given to him in all the fulness of his mediatorial offices. God has given his Son to us to be our Prophet, Priest, and King. Is Christ ours? Has God given us his dear Son? If he has, then we have in Christ the guarantee of every other blessing (Rom. 8:32). Since God has not withheld from us his choicest treasure, the Darling of his heart, his only begotten and beloved Son, surely he will also freely give us all things.
2. THE GIFT OF HIS SPIRIT.
In the days of the Old Testament, God pardoned and justified his elect upon the grounds of the atonement Christ would make at his appointed time. On the basis of that same atonement, he also gave those Old Testament saints his Holy Spirit (Neh. 9:20; Isa. 63:11). Without the gift of the Spirit, none could have been born of God, believed on him, or walked with him. But in those days, the Holy Spirit was not yet poured out upon the nations of the world in demonstration and power. The Gentiles were without the Spirit of life, light, and holiness until Christ came. But now, since the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Christ, God has poured out his Spirit upon his elect in every nation.
· The Holy Spirit was God’s ascension gift to his Son (Acts 2:33).
· The Holy Spirit is Christ’s coronation gift to his church (John 16:7).
· And the Holy Spirit is a gift purchasesd by Christ for his own elect (Gal. 3:13-14).
Every blessing we receive from God comes to us through the merits and mediation of Christ. And all for whom Christ died shall have his Spirit. There is no such thing as a saved sinner who has not received the Holy Spirit.
3. THE GIFT OF LIFE.
The apostle Paul tells us that, “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Eternal life is the gift of God sovereignly and freely bestowed upon spiritually dead sinners through the merits of Christ’s blood atonement and the power of his grace (John 10:28; 17:2). “The wages of sin is death.” That means, if we die, if we are lost, if we go to hell, it is our own fault. Hell is something every person earns for himself by wilful sin and unbelief. “But the gift of God is eternal life.” That means, if we are saved, if we enter into heaven, it is God’s fault, God’s work, God’s gift. Spiritual, eternal life is something God gives to sinners. And this gift is ours “through Jesus Christ his Son.” Eternal life is given to sinners only through the mediation of Christ, the sinner’s Substitute (Psa. 68:18-20).
4. THE GIFT OF FAITH.
Though faith in Christ is something for which every man is responsible, because God commands us to believe (1 John 3:23), and though faith is an act of the heart, faith is not the work of man’s free will. Faith is the gift of God (Acts 3:16; Eph. 1:19; 2:8; Phil. 1:29; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 1:21). As God must give me breath before I can breathe, so he must give me faith before I can believe. Faith is not the cause and condition of grace. Faith in Christ is the gift and fruit of grace.
5. THE GIFT OF REPENTANCE.
We recognize that it is the duty of all men to repent. Every sinner is responsible to do so. God commands all to repent (Acts 17:30). But man by nature is so thoroughly in bondage to sin that he has neither the will nor the ability to repent. No one will ever repent of sin apart from a miracle of grace. As A. W. Pink wrote, “It is the Holy Spirit who illuminates the understanding to perceive the heinousness of sin, the heart to loathe it, and the will to repudiate it.” If you are now in a state of repentance, it is because God has poured out the Spirit of his grace upon you (Zech. 12:10; Jer. 31:19; Acts 5:31; 11:18).
6. THE GIFT OF SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING.
Spiritual knowledge, discernment, and understanding is not the result of human intellect, but the gift of God (1 John 5:20). I do not refer to mere doctrinal knowledge. Though that is an essential element of spiritual understanding. But a man may have that and be lost. Spiritual understanding is the result of spiritual life in Christ. It is the Holy Spirit shining light into our hearts enabling us to see the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Cor. 4:6). Though we do not see Christ with our physical eyes, he is a living reality to those who have spiritual understanding. We now know him, by the Spirit of God, through the Word of God. All who are born of God know him (John 17:3). We know his doctrine (1 John 2:20). We know his will (Prov. 3:5-6; John 15:15). And we know his character (Isa. 45:20-25). This spiritual understanding does not produce pride, but humility. It fires the affections, sanctifies the will, and elevates the mind.
7. THE GIFT OF HIS GRACE.
Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers, "I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 1:4). Here he used the word “grace” in its widest sense. In this widest, biblical sense, grace includes all the benefits of Christ’s merits and mediation, providential, spiritual, temporal, and eternal. Particularly, Paul is talking about God’s saving grace bestowed upon his elect from eternity (Eph. 1:3). All grace is the gift of God!
· Regenerating grace (John 3:8)
· Justifying grace (Rom. 3:23-26)
· Pardoning grace (Isa. 43:25)
· Sanctifying grace (Heb. 10:10)
· Persevering grace (Phil. 1:6)
· Living grace (2 Cor. 12:9)
· Dying grace (Ps. 2:4-6)
8. THE GIFT OF ALL THINGS
Every believer, every child of God, every sinner saved by the grace of God needs to learn and rejoice in this fact - God has given us all things to enjoy (1 Tim. 6:17; 3:4-5). All things in providence are ours. All things in grace are ours. All things in creation are ours. Be careful that you do not abuse what God has given you. Be certain that you are not brought into bondage to anything. But be assured that all things in God’s creation were made for you to enjoy. And all things in eternity are ours in Christ (1 Cor. 3:21). Our everlasting reward in heaven is not something earned by our works, but the gift of God’s free grace in Christ...
9. THE GIFT OF EVERLASTING, HEAVENLY GLORY
All that heaven is, all that it promises and affords, in all its fulness, glory and happiness is the gift of God, freely bestowed upon every saved sinner through the merits and mediation of Christ (Rom. 8:17; Eph. 1:11). It is our inheritance as the sons of God.
It is the character of God to give. The God we worship and serve with grateful hearts is “the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” God has given all things to us. Let us now give our all to him (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; 1 Chron. 29:13-14).