Take a quick look at your hands.
Are they open? Or closed?
Why do I ask?
Because only open hands can receive.
A repentant, believing heart and open hands are all that is needed to receive gospel grace. As John Stott wrote, “Jesus Christ on the cross has done everything that is necessary for us to be forgiven. He has borne our sin and curse. What then must we do? Nothing! Nothing but fall on our knees in penitence and faith and stretch out an open empty hand to receive salvation as a gift that is entirely free.”
The gospel truth is this: we can never take, grasp, or earn gospel gifts. They are freely and lavishly given by God because of all Jesus accomplished with His life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.
Ephesians 1:7 reads: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (ESV). In Christ, by the riches of God’s grace, we have received redemption. And, in Him, we have received mercy upon mercy, grace upon grace, blessing upon blessing . . . gift upon gift.
But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became God-given wisdom for us—
our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption
(1 Cor 1:30 HCSB).
Jesus Christ is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
Sinners can never attain righteousness (no matter how hard we clench those fists in striving). Thankfully, we don’t have to! God mercifully passes on the righteousness of His Son to those united to Him. Because of His sinless, perfect life, lived in obedience to the Father and the Law, He is altogether righteous. And that righteous standing has been credited to those in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
In fact, every aspect of salvation is gifted to those who are in Christ. They are under what theologians call the umbrella doctrine. Being united to Christ is to be graced with all that is His and all that He has accomplished.
Grace-gifts revealed in the gospel that are given to those united with Christ include, but are not limited to:
Life in the Son as a new creation
The indwelling Holy Spirit—for life and godliness
Reconciliation with a Holy God
Justification from the charges of sin
Redemption from the wages of sin
Forgiveness of sin
Accreditation of the Son’s righteousness
Liberation to walk freely in His grace
Adoption into the family of God
A raised life with new citizenship
Resurrection from death and darkness
Eternal life in the presence of the King of kings
The gospel is that comprehensive! Because Jesus left nothing undone. He gloriously accomplished it all!
And the Father, Son, and Spirit provide all that is needed to live a life united to Christ—as They love and lead us home.