Unlimited: Gifts and Obligations
Jul 6, 2022 459
Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation (Romans 4:4).
Paul is making an important point that followers of Jesus sometimes forget. He has been telling us that we are accounted righteous as a gift. A gift cannot be earned in any shape or form. If you have to work for something, or deserve it in any way, then what you receive isn’t a gift anymore. Instead you have obligated the giver to give you what he owes you. But it isn’t like that at all. God isn’t obligated to save you. It is simply a gift on his behalf.
We are accounted righteous as a gift.
It seems that we have forgotten what a gift really is. That’s because we often give gifts according to what we assess a person deserves. We give a person whom we consider to be more deserving a bigger gift. Someone who isn’t as deserving might not receive a gift from us at all! Although this is a common way of thinking, when we give in this way, it isn’t really a gift. Instead, it’s a business transaction in which we are effectively saying, “I am giving you this because you have given me something in return.” The way in which God offers us salvation has nothing to do with this kind of process at all.
God doesn’t save you because of what you have done in the past, or even because he knows that your behaviour will improve in the future. God offers you his salvation entirely as a free gift.
God isn’t obligated to you, or obligated to save you and bless you. Instead, you are obligated to him, every day and in every way. Think of a concrete way in which you can express your gratitude to God today, and then do it.
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