Credited as Righteousness—Romans 4:4-5
"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" (Romans 4:4-5)
Anyone working a job knows the end of the week paycheck isn’t a gift. It’s the result of the blood, sweat, and tears of our labor. We give our employers our time, effort, skill, and passions, in return they pay us.
As Paul points out, God justifies the wicked and in reality, everyone falls into this category.
Necessary in the workforce, but scary with God. As Paul notes later in the letter, the only wage earned on our own merit is death (Rom. 6:23).
The contrast of earning something from God is to trust in His grace. The result is that we, too, (like Abraham in this example) have God’s righteousness.
That’s right, given Jesus’ perfect sinless record!
Good news—It’s not our ability to be good! Trying only excludes us. As Paul points out, God justifies the wicked and in reality, everyone falls into this category.
It’s an either-or scenario. We can earn something from God (death). Or we come as we are (wicked) and trust Him. God then credits us with always having obeyed everything He said (justified).
It takes faith to trust God’s good intent toward us offering nothing in return. But the payoff is huge—God gives Jesus’ righteousness.
Where are you trying to earn God’s favor?
Where could you thank Him for His favor?
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Original article published June 30, 2009.