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Wages versus Gifts

Romans 4:4-8
Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him." (NIV)

Christless religion, of whatever kind, says that we have to earn God's approval by doing well. But that is not the gospel of Jesus. If we insist that we must earn our rewards as a right or payment for our good works, we will also deserve our punishment for everything bad. That is no way to find peace with God.

Instead, God promises the free gift of eternal life to those who believe. It has nothing to do with how hard we work at being good; it relies entirely on trusting God to give us what we do not deserve because that is what He has promised. That was how Abraham was justified (Romans 4:1-3). King David too, after experiencing the misery of unconfessed sin, found that repentance and faith in God's promises brought peace and joy. Despite his wickedness, David believed that God would forgive freely, and would restore him. He then found his relationship with God was back on track.

We call this the 'grace of God'. His delight in forgiving sinners who repent is the most precious gift to human beings. We do not deserve His favour, we only deserve punishment. But "the Lord has laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). God gives us His righteousness in exchange for our wickedness: it is His gift to all who will receive it. www.crosscheck.org.uk explains God's logic: it is the gospel message that your friends and colleagues need to see and hear - so give them the URL, watch it with them or offer to discuss it. Initially it may not make sense by human logic but it is our only way to be saved. So rejoice in God's free gift and tell others how to receive it too.

Dear Lord God, full of grace and love. Thank You for Your promise to freely give eternal life to all who trust in Your promised salvation. I am sorry when I have gone back to relying on my own goodness rather than depending on Your grace. I know that however much good I do, I can never eliminate any of my bad past; so help me to confess my sins more quickly and receive Your grace. I want to experience the peace and joy which comes with Your free forgiveness and gracious love. Help me also to tell my friends and colleagues so that they may know the joy of being saved by Your grace also. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams