If from your youth onward you were offered the opportunity of receiving a billion dollars as a gift, would you be interested? And, what if this billion-dollar opportunity offered to you was conditioned upon getting married; would it still be rightfully considered a gift?
You have been offered as a gift something of far greater value than billions, even trillions, of dollars (Matthew 16:26); it is eternal life.
This gracious offer of eternal life remains a gift even though it is conditioned upon you becoming a member of the bride of Christ. It requires you to obey the gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:8) and thus be added to the church (Acts 2:47), the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-23).
Jehovah’s placement of conditions upon it does not diminish His gracious offer in any way. If I die two days before my birthday, I do not receive any birthday presents a loved one may have already purchased for me. If I quit school after one semester, it is impossible for me to receive a graduation gift. If my fiancée returns her engagement ring seven days before the wedding date, the sad truth is I will not be receiving any wedding presents in a week.
God’s incredible, indescribable gift of all spiritual blessings in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), including the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23) is conditional. I must obey all the conditions they have in order to receive them. Therefore, I must be in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), and I must be baptized to get into Christ (Galatians 3:27).