THE boat-shaped pencil sharpener in Jordan’s hand seems unremarkable. Yet, it is one of his most treasured possessions. Jordan explains, “Russell, an elderly family friend, gave it to me when I was very young.” After Russell’s death, Jordan learned that Russell had played a pivotal role in the lives of Jordan’s grandfather and parents, reassuring them during difficult times. “Now that I have learned more about Russell,” Jordan says, “this tiny gift is more valuable to me than ever.”
As Jordan’s experience illustrates, a gift may have little or no value in some people’s eyes. To the appreciative recipient, though, it may be precious, even priceless. The Bible describes a gift of incalculable worth in these well-known words: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.”
A gift that can bring the receiver everlasting life! Can there be any gift of greater worth? While some may not recognize the value of that gift, true Christians esteem it as “precious.” (Psalm 49:8; 1 Peter 1:18, 19) Why, though, did God offer the life of his Son as a gift for the world?
The apostle Paul explains why in these words: “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men.” (Romans 5:12) The first man, Adam, sinned by knowingly disobeying God, and he thus suffered the penalty of death. Through Adam, death came upon all his descendants
“The wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) To free mankind from the condemnation of death, God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to sacrifice his perfect life for the world. On the basis of that sacrifice, known as “the ransom,” all who exercise faith in Jesus will have everlasting life.
Regarding all the blessings that God extends to his worshippers through Jesus Christ, Paul declares: “Thanks be to God for his indescribable free gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:15) Yes, the ransom is so marvelous that we are incapable of fully describing it. But among all of God’s gracious gifts to humankind, why is the ransom especially remarkable? In what way is it unlike any of God’s other gifts? * And how should we respond to it? We invite you to read the Bible’s answers to those questions in the following two articles.