~ by Mark Maulding
Do you have any gifts from last Christmas which you have never opened? If so, you can send them to me! The reality is that you probably don’t. Most of us have such anticipation of opening our gifts; we struggle to even wait until Christmas! One of my own sons always looked at his gifts in stealth before Christmas and then perfectly put the wrapping paper back on them.
Sadly, many of us have two gifts God gave that we have never opened. These two gifts have been provided for the transformation of our lives and relationships. Interested in knowing what they are? According to Romans 5:17, they are abundant grace and righteousness.
Romans 5:17 (TPT)
“Death once held us in its grip, and by the blunder of one man, death reigned as king over humanity. But now, how much more are we held in the grip of grace and continue reigning as kings in life, enjoying our regal freedom through the gift of perfect righteousness in the one and only Jesus, the Messiah!”
God says if we open these gifts and enjoy them, we will reign in life through our relationship with Jesus. So, what does this look like in real life?
Abundant grace means the limitless life of Jesus Christ is in us. He is in us to give us the most satisfying intimacy we can ever experience while on this earth. One of my first staff members was what is often termed as a “complete Jew” because at 16 he received Christ as His personal Messiah. However, over time, he fell into deep depression and tried everything he knew to free himself from it. That all changed when he began to understand and live by God’s abundant grace so much so that an elder at his church once told me that he was one of the most changed persons he knew. That’s reigning in life!
The gift of righteousness means that because we are in Christ, God has made us as righteous as Jesus. He did this by replacing our former identity of being a sinner with a new identity of being righteous. Romans 5:19 describes it by contrasting the identity we received from Adam with the one we received from Jesus.
Romans 5:19 (TPT)
“One man’s disobedience opened the door for all humanity to become sinners. So also one man’s obedience opened the door for many to be made perfectly right with God and acceptable to him.”
As a result, you are always 100% righteous in your spirit.
I met Billy at a pastors’ retreat. Just before I took the stage, he asked me what I was going to speak on, trying to decide whether he wanted to stay. When I shared a little of my message, he did stay and discovered that though he had lived a very fleshly rebellious life until recently, God still viewed him as righteous instead of a dirty rotten sinner. Before, he had seen himself as unworthy of marrying a godly Christian girl. Afterwards, he realized that was a lie. Why? Because he opened his gift of righteousness by believing he was 100% righteous. It wasn’t long before our Papa brought him a wonderful Christian girl to be his wife. He is now a full-time student pastor with a very fruitful ministry.
You can also open these gifts today but only through faith. To open the gift of abundant grace is to depend on Jesus Christ in you, to meet your deep need for intimacy and then to live His life through you. To open the gift of righteousness is to believe that your identity in Christ makes you as righteous as Him.
Why don’t you open these two gifts right now? Here is a suggested prayer for you to pray today and beyond.
“Jesus, I know that I have tried many ways to find intimacy but I realize none of those will ever satisfy me. I choose to believe that You are in me to be my eternal companion, offering me intimacy far beyond what any human could ever give. Though I may not feel it today, I believe You live in me to love me, to talk with me and listen to me. I am also convinced that without You I can do nothing in any area of my life. I ask You to fill me with Your love for me and to live Your life through me today in all that I do, especially in my relationships. Finally, Jesus, I believe when You gave me the gift of Your righteousness it became my righteousness. This is my true identity regardless of how often I have failed or succeeded. I choose to believe that I am righteous regardless of my behavior, circumstances or feelings. Please remind me often to enjoy these two gifts which You gave me. Amen”
Believe it! It’s the Gospel.
Mark Maulding, President and Founder
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