The Free Gift (Romans 5:15-17)

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.” (Romans 5:15, ESV)

There is a television commercial running now that it is tax season, that focuses on the word free. One of these repeats the word free over and over. The one I remember most is of a young boy in a spelling bee, spelling the word FREE. In these commercials the advertiser is highlighting that a version of their software is free. Paul, in this passage, speaks of the free gift of God. A gift that is truly free with no hooks attached.

In the passage, the ESV translates three Greek words, charisma, dorea, and dorema, as “free gift.” We see the word charisma used twice, once in verse 15 and again in verse 16. While dorea and dorema both refer to that which is given, a gift, charisma refers to something given graciously to another. The passage in the ESV uses the phrase, “free gift,” five times. When I see this phrase used this many times in three consecutive verses, I get the idea that the author is trying to tell us something important.

We know that for a gift to be a gift it must be free. God has freely given us that which we do not deserve. He has already presented that we have been justified, that we have peace with God, that we have hope of life eternal. Now Paul contrasts the power of the gift of grace to the problem of the trespass. He states, “the free gift is not like the trespass.” His first point is that while the trespass of Adam caused death to all, the free gift is greater, making the grace of God available to all.

Moreover, the sin of Adam brought sin and judgment on all, because all have sinned. Yet on the contrary, the free gift dealt with the issue of many transgressions and brings justification for all transgressors who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. He died for our sins (1 Cor 15:3).

Last, Paul indicates that Adam’s sin brought death to all. The free gift, on the other hand, does more than just deliver from sins, but for those who have received the abundant grace of God and the free gift of righteousness, they experience the blessing of eternal life.

The free gift is available to all, but only a few receive it. But for us that do, we understand the infinite power of the free gift. The free gift frees us from condemnation. The free gift gives us eternal life. We should realize how blessed we are to have been given the free gift of God, which is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Spend some time giving thanks to Him for His free gift to you.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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