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“FREELY YOU RECEIVED”
by Philip Owen

   Some would tell us that we must do this or that in order to be saved.  There are others who would tell us that we must do this or that in order to keep saved.  However, the Word of God says:  “Freely you received” (Matt. 10:8b).  We are recipients of the free grace of God.  The Word uses metaphors like “cup,” “clay pots,” and “vessels” to suggest that we are receptacles of God’s grace and blessing.  To freely receive is to be blessed; to endeavor to earn the blessing of salvation is futile.   For, “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified” (Gal. 2:16).  God’s grace cannot be purchased by men, but Christ paid the supreme price and fully purchased all.  Note in part, what He bought and what we freely receive.

   1.  We have received His Spirit—the very Third Person of the Trinity within us, the “earnest money” [“down payment” or “pledge”] that assures us of the full redemption of our body, soul, and spirit.  First Corinthians 2:12 declares this to be true:  “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given us by God.”  We receive Christ in the Person of His Spirit.

   2.  We have received deliverance; that is, we no longer exist under the dominion of the world, the flesh, or the devil.  While all three may still influence us, they have ceased to hold sovereign sway over our lives.  Galatians 1:4 assures us that Jesus Christ “gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”

   3.  We have received all spiritual blessings.  How terrible it would be to be rich in this world’s goods, to be blessed with perfect health, to enjoy a loving family—only to lose all of them at the end of our lives because the natural things of this world all pass away.  Paul said it well:  “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”  To gain the things of this world only to relinquish them all at death would be tragic.   And beyond tragedy would be the reality of “gaining” in their place eternal damnation.  However, believers have not been left eternally destitute because the Father “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3b).  In addition to knowledge, understanding, wisdom, judgment, and discernment, these blessings include the specifically identified fruit of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (see Gal. 5:22, 23).

   4.  We have received all the promises.  Under grace, by which we freely receive, every promise is ours:  “For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes” (II Cor. 1:20).  Paul, of course, is not suggesting that natural promises given to Israel belong to the church, but he is asserting that every promise given to the church has been secured in and through Christ.  He is our “all in all.”  Every promise to the church is secured through Christ to every member of the church.  Every believer is a full heir.

   5.  We have received godlikeness.  God in His three Persons is forever separate and transcendent.  Nevertheless, according to infinite grace, “We know that when He [Christ] appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (I John 3:2b).  The significance of that statement is beyond my comprehension.  But eternity will reveal the full scope of this gift of godlikeness we have freely received.

   One further word.  Having glimpsed very briefly what we have received in Christ—gifts which we cannot purchase and do not deserve—what should be our heartfelt response?  “Freely you received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8b).  From the abundance of our heart we should give the Lord thanksgiving and praise.  If love, praise, adoration, and worship flow freely from our hearts to the Lord, we will give our will, energy, desires, time, and stuff—in short, our all—to Him to use as He sees fit.  Freely we have received Christ’s all; freely let us give our all.

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