May 5, 2022
“Now to the one who works, pay is not considered as a gift, but as something owed. But to the one who does not work, but believes on Him who declares righteous the ungodly...”
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“Now to the one who works, pay is not considered as a gift, but as something owed. But to the one who does not work, but believes on Him who declares righteous the ungodly, his faith is credited for righteousness.” Romans 4:4-5
Let’s say you’re in a bit of debt, and you need to make some extra money to pay it off. You decide to get an additional job digging ditches. (Someone’s got to do it!) So, you’re in the hot sun every weekend, just working away. On payday, the foreman strolls by, hands you an envelope, and says, “Here’s a gift.”
“WAIT A MINUTE!” you reply. “I’ve been working hard for two weeks. That money is not a gift; I’ve earned it!”
If you have a debt that you can pay off, you should work hard and pay it. When your work is finished, you have earned your wages. When your debt is paid, you paid it.
Have you ever felt cheated by God? Do you ever think He misappropriated your “good works” and renamed your righteousness as His “gift” of salvation? Perhaps, you should demand an accounting of all your good works and put God’s character on trial. That’s what Job did. But how did that work out for Job?
The Bible gives us our accounting: “There is no one righteous, not even one.” Romans 3:10
Now, suppose you’re in so much debt you couldn’t possibly pay it off. Your grandkids will still be paying your debt long after you’re dead! One day, the person you owe tells you he wants to cancel your debt, and all you have to do is have faith he’ll do it. You tell him you believe him and want to accept his offer. So he cancels your debt.
Later, you overhear that person needs some ditches dug around his property. In response to what he’s done for you, canceling a debt you could not afford, you commit your life to work for him. You do not work out of any obligation. There is no debt anymore. Instead, you work voluntarily, out of thankfulness.
People who don’t realize the enormity of their sin debt believe they can pay that debt. They think much of themselves and less of God. True believers in Jesus see their debt to God as un-payable. Their “good works” (as believers) are out of gratitude for His having canceled their debt.
“For the wages of sin is death, the free gift of God is eternal life in Messiah Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23