“Thanks be to God for his indescribable free gift.”
SONGS: 121, 63
1, 2. (a) What does God’s “indescribable free gift” include? (b) What questions will we consider in this article?
JEHOVAH gave us the greatest possible gift of love when he sent his precious Son, Jesus, to the earth! (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9, 10) The apostle Paul called this gift an “indescribable free gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:15) Why did Paul use that expression?
2 Paul knew that Jesus’ sacrifice is a guarantee that all of God’s wonderful promises will come true. (Read 2 Corinthians 1:20.) This means that God’s “indescribable free gift” includes Jesus’ sacrifice and all the goodness and loyal love that Jehovah shows us. Such a valuable gift is impossible to describe in a way that we can completely understand. How should this special gift make us feel? And how should this gift motivate us as we prepare for the Memorial of Christ’s death on Wednesday, March 23, 2016?
GOD’S SPECIAL GIFT
3, 4. (a) How do you feel when someone gives you a gift? (b) How might a special gift change your life?
3 We love it when someone gives us a gift. But some gifts are so meaningful or special that they can change our life. For example, imagine that you have been involved in a crime. The punishment for the crime is death. But suddenly, someone you do not know volunteers to receive the punishment instead of you. He is willing to die for you! How would such a special gift make you feel?
4 Such a loving and special gift would cause you to make changes in your life. Likely, you would also feel motivated to be more generous and loving to others and to forgive any who have been unkind to you. For the rest of your life, you would want to show that you are grateful for the sacrifice that was made.
5. How is God’s gift of the ransom much greater than any other gift?
5 God’s gift of the ransom is much greater than the gift in the example. (1 Peter 3:18) Think about this: All of us inherited sin from Adam, and the punishment for sin is death. (Romans 5:12) Love motivated Jehovah to send Jesus to the earth to die for all humans, to “taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:9) But Jesus’ sacrifice will do even more! It will destroy death forever. (Isaiah 25:7, 8; 1 Corinthians 15:22, 26) All who show faith in Jesus will live in peace and be happy forever, either as kings with Christ in heaven or as subjects of God’s Kingdom on earth. (Romans 6:23; Revelation 5:9, 10) What other blessings are included in Jehovah’s gift?
6. (a) What blessings of Jehovah’s gift do you look forward to? (b) Name three things God’s gift will motivate us to do.
6 As part of God’s gift, the earth will become a paradise, the sick will be cured, and the dead will be resurrected. (Isaiah 33:24; 35:5, 6; John 5:28, 29) We love Jehovah and his dear Son for giving us this “indescribable free gift.” What will this gift motivate us to do? It will motivate us (1) to imitate Christ Jesus closely, (2) to love our brothers, and (3) to forgive others from the heart.
“THE LOVE THE CHRIST HAS COMPELS US”
7, 8. How should we feel about the love of Christ, and what should it motivate us to do?
7 First, we should feel motivated to use our life to honor Jesus. The apostle Paul said: “The love the Christ has compels us.” (Read 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15.) Paul knew that if we accept Jesus’ great love, it will compel us, or motivate us, to love and honor Jesus. Yes, when we fully understand what Jehovah has done for us, his love will motivate us to live in a way that shows we honor Jesus. How do we do that?
8 Love for Jehovah will motivate us to imitate Jesus’ example, following his steps closely. (1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6) When we obey God and Christ, we prove our love for them. Jesus said: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. In turn, whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will clearly show myself to him.”
9. What pressures do we have?
9 During this Memorial season, it is good to meditate on how we are using our life. So ask yourself: ‘In what areas do I already imitate Jesus? In what areas can I improve?’ It is important to ask ourselves these questions because the world wants us to live the way they do. (Romans 12:2) If we are not careful, we could feel pressured to start imitating the world’s teachers, celebrities, and sports heroes. (Colossians 2:8; 1 John 2:15-17) How can we resist that pressure?
10. What questions can we ask ourselves during this Memorial season, and what may the answers motivate us to do? (See opening picture.)
10 It is good to take time during the Memorial season to examine our clothes, movies, and music, as well as what is on our computer, cell phone, or tablet. Ask yourself: ‘If Jesus were here and saw what I was wearing, would I be embarrassed?’ (Read 1 Timothy 2:9, 10.) ‘Would my clothes show that I am a follower of Christ? Would Jesus like to watch my movies? Would he listen to my music? If Jesus borrowed my cell phone or tablet, would I be embarrassed by what he saw? Would it be difficult to explain to Jesus why I enjoy the video games I play?’ Our love for Jehovah should motivate us to throw away anything that would be inappropriate for a Christian, no matter how much it cost. (Acts 19:19, 20) When we dedicated our life to Jehovah, we promised to use our life to honor Christ. So we should not keep anything that could make it difficult for us to imitate Jesus.
11. (a) How does our love for Jehovah and Jesus motivate us in the preaching work? (b) How can our love motivate us to help others in the congregation?
11 Our love for Jesus motivates us to preach and teach with zeal. (Matthew 28:19, 20; Luke 4:43) During the Memorial season, can you arrange your daily life so that you can auxiliary pioneer and spend 30 or 50 hours in the preaching work? One widower who was 84 years old thought that he could not pioneer because of his age and poor health. But the pioneers in his area wanted to help him. They provided transportation and chose appropriate territory that he could work. As a result, the brother reached his goal of 30 hours. Can you help someone in your congregation to auxiliary pioneer in March or April? It is true that not everyone can pioneer, but we can use our time and energy to increase our service to Jehovah. If we do so, we will show that we, like Paul, are motivated by Jesus’ love. What else will God’s love move us to do?
WE ARE OBLIGATED TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER
12. God’s love motivates us to do what?
12 Second, God’s love should motivate us to love our brothers. The apostle John wrote: “Beloved ones, if this is how God loved us, then we are also under obligation to love one another.” (1 John 4:7-11) So if we accept God’s love, we need to love our brothers. (1 John 3:16) How can we show love for them?
13. What example did Jesus set in loving others?
13 Jesus’ example shows us how we can love others. When he was on earth, he helped people, especially the humble ones. He cured the sick, lame, blind, deaf, and mute. (Matthew 11:4, 5) Unlike the religious leaders, Jesus enjoyed teaching people who wanted to learn about God. (John 7:49) He loved those humble people and worked hard to help them.
14. What can you do to show love for your brothers?
14 The Memorial season is also a good time to think about how you can help the brothers and sisters in your congregation, especially the older ones. Could you visit these dear ones? Could you bring them a meal, help them with chores in the home, offer them a ride to the meeting, or invite them to work with you in the ministry? (Read Luke 14:12-14.) Let God’s love motivate you to show love for your brothers!
SHOW MERCY TO OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS
15. What must we recognize?
15 Third, Jehovah’s love motivates us to forgive our brothers and sisters. All of us have inherited sin and death from Adam, so no one can say, “I do not need the ransom.” Even the most faithful servant of God needs the gift of the ransom. Each of us has been forgiven a huge debt! Why is it important to recognize that? We find the answer in one of Jesus’ illustrations.
16, 17. (a) What should we learn from Jesus’ illustration of the king and the slaves? (b) After meditating on Jesus’ illustration, what are you determined to do?
16 Jesus gave an illustration about a king who forgave his slave a huge debt of 60,000,000 denarii. But later, that slave did not forgive a fellow slave a much smaller debt of only 100 denarii. The king’s mercy should have motivated his slave to forgive a fellow slave. The king was furious when he heard that his slave did not forgive such a small debt. He said: “Wicked slave, I canceled all that debt for you when you pleaded with me. Should you not also have shown mercy to your fellow slave as I showed mercy to you?” (Matthew 18:23-35, footnote) Like the king, Jehovah has forgiven us a huge debt. What should Jehovah’s love and mercy motivate us to do?
17 As we prepare for the Memorial, we might ask ourselves: ‘Have I been hurt by a brother? Do I find it difficult to forgive him?’ If so, this is a good time to imitate Jehovah, who is “ready to forgive.” (Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 86:5) If we appreciate Jehovah’s great mercy, we will show mercy to others and forgive them from the heart. If we do not love and forgive our brothers, we cannot expect Jehovah to love and forgive us. (Matthew 6:14, 15) When we forgive others, it does not change the fact that they hurt us, but it will help us to have a happier future.
18. How did God’s love help one sister to put up with the imperfections of another sister?
18 It can be difficult to put up with the imperfections of our brothers and sisters. (Read Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13, 14.) One sister who did that was Lily.  (See endnote.) She helped a widow named Carol. For example, she drove Carol wherever she needed to go, helped her with necessary shopping, and did many other things for her. Despite all that Lily did, Carol was always critical, and at times it was not easy to help her. But Lily focused on Carol’s good qualities and helped her for some years until Carol got very sick and died. Even though helping Carol was difficult for Lily, she says: “I look forward to seeing Carol in the resurrection. I want to know her when she is perfect.” Clearly, God’s love can motivate us to put up with our brothers and sisters and to look forward to the time when human imperfection will be gone forever.
19. How will God’s “indescribable free gift” motivate you?
19 Jehovah has truly given us an “indescribable free gift.” May we always appreciate it! The Memorial season is an excellent time to meditate on all that Jehovah and Jesus have done for us. May their love motivate us to imitate Jesus closely, to show love for our brothers, and to forgive our brothers from the heart.
^  (paragraph 18) Some names in this article have been changed.