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Works… – 2016-10-15

Meditating on works again this week with all the retreat preparation…

Romans 4:4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.

I was thinking, if I work to pay off my debt of sin, I’m not making any progress… nothing I do is “enough” to settle my account for what I’ve done. nothing.

Yet, we so often want to work our way to heaven… we can’t buy grace, grace is a gift which we either accept, ignore or reject. I was thinking how an employee works, the the employer pays what is owed. We want to work for God as an employer, but He does not owe anyone.

I think of when our children were small and wanted something large. We would have them pay for it – usually pennies on the dollar. All efforts to repay God for our sin are just that, pennies on the million dollar debt.

Romans 4 talks about the faith of Abrahams, ” He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” An aged man who’s been promised to be the father of many nations… I imagine him looking in the mirror at his aged, frail body saying, “well God, going to need a whole bunch of help here…”

Going into Romans 5, I am greeted by one of my favorite verses, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Christ in Our Place
6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Justified by faith… by Jesus, who bridges the unbridgeable gap… while we were still sinners…. not after we served so many years in ministry, but before… not because of what we’ve done, but because of what Jesus did.

It’s so incomprehensible to look at my account with God and to see “paid in full” on a debt I could not ever satisfy. Grace is a beautiful thing, and the abundance of God’s grace never ceases to amaze me.

Peace with God… even through tribulations… His strength to persevere; His character when mine is lacking; His hope, which is not empty like the hope of the world; His love, which is beyond circumstances, beyond our deeds, both good and bad.

Thinking and thanking God that I get to start this morning with a big piece of peaceful pie… and a cup of coffee… breakfast of champions right there  20