"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
It is singularly appropriate that we look at this greatest of all verses at Christmas time, for it records the greatest of all gifts. The theme of giving is very prominent in the Bible, with such words as "give," "gift," "gave," etc., occurring more than 2,100 times. The first is Genesis 1:16-17 when God created the sun, moon, and stars "to give light upon the earth," and the last is Revelation 22:12 when Christ will return with His rewards to "give every man according as his work shall be." "He . . . gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons," as well as "life, and breath, and all things" (Acts 14:17; 17:25).
But the greatest gift, clearly, was when God gave Himself for a lost and undeserving world. It was the greatest gift because it met the greatest need, revealed the greatest love, and had the greatest scope and purpose of any gift that could ever be conceived in the heart of an omniscient Creator.
That was not the end of His giving, of course. "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). "Trust . . . in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy" (1 Timothy 6:17).
This great gift of God is abundantly sufficient to provide salvation and everlasting life for the whole world. But a gift only becomes a gift when it is accepted, and the greatest of all tragedies is that this greatest of all gifts has been spurned and even ridiculed, or--worst of all--simply ignored by multitudes who need it so much. When they brazenly refuse God's free gift of everlasting life, they can only perish in everlasting death. God did all He could do when He gave His Son; for when He gave His Son, He gave Himself.
* Dr. Morris (1918-2006) was Founder of the Institute for Creation Research.
This article was originally published in Days of Praise on December 25, 1997.