Last week we exchanged Christmas presents. This provides a ready analogy for salvation. The Bible calls salvation the “gift of God” (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8). Christians often compare how we give gifts to how God bestows salvation.
The comparison is easy to follow. When we offer someone a gift, they can choose to receive or refuse it. Similarly, when God offers someone the gift of salvation, they can either receive or refuse it.
Christians who think this way argue that God’s grace is resistible. In other words, someone can resist God’s call to salvation. The fact that He calls them is no guarantee they will be saved.
Breaking the Analogy
Jesus compares our giving to God’s as well. He asks, “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)
In our comparison, God is no better at giving than we are. His gifts can be refused just as ours can. But Jesus shows this to be false. God is a better giver than we are, and He gives better gifts. His gift of salvation will not be refused by those for whom it is meant.
God is a Better Giver
Buying presents is tough. We cannot make people willing to receive our gifts. Instead, we do our best trying to find something they will like.
Not so with God. When He offers salvation to those whom He has chosen, He makes them willing to receive it. He grants us a new nature and inclines us toward Himself so we will not refuse His gift.
Salvation is a Better Gift
Gift cards are now a highly requested Christmas present. They are easy to give because they eliminate the pressure of finding the right gift. And they are convenient to receive because you can choose a gift for yourself.
The only inconvenience is they have a limit. Has anyone ever given you an unlimited gift card? Probably not.
But God gives us an unlimited gift in salvation – unlimited grace, unlimited forgiveness, and unlimited love. There is no limit to its usefulness because it meets our deepest needs. And there is no limit to how long we can enjoy it because it lasts for eternity!
No Refunds, No Exchanges
Some people still prefer to buy actual gifts. When they do, they play it safe by including a gift receipt. This allows the recipient to return it for a refund or exchange it for something else.
Christians who think God’s grace is resistible also apply this to salvation. They argue that someone who is saved can revert to being unsaved. In effect, they can “return” their salvation.
But again, this logic limits God’s ability to give. It assumes He is no better at giving than we are. And it assumes His gifts are no better than ours. Which is exactly the opposite of what Jesus says.
We cannot make others willing to receive our gifts; nor can we compel others to keep them. But God can. He gives in such a way that we will never return His gift. And His gift is so good, we wouldn’t return it even if we wanted to.
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