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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Salvation Is a Gift; I Don’t Need To Work for a Gift

In review of Romans 3:24 it says, ”All need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ” (NCV).

If I was to ask a hundred people on the sidewalk, “How do you get to heaven?” I’d likely get a lot of different answers that could be summarized by the idea that you have to earn your way to heaven. I’d hear things like, “Try to be good and do your best” or “Work really hard at being a moral person” or “Do more good things than bad things in life.” All of these ideas are based on works, not grace. But in reality salvation is a gift, and I don’t work for a gift. It’s free! I can’t earn it, I can’t buy it, and I can’t work for it.

Today’s verse is from the end of Romans 3:20-24 where I learn that I can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows me how sinful and off-track I am. However I have forgiveness of my sin through Christ who took my punishment. The good news is that God has shown me a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. I am made right with God by placing my faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter my situation. For everyone has sinned; all of us fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes me right in his sight, through Christ Jesus where his sacrifice freed me from the penalty for my sins.

Because of God's law, I see how far I'm off, and that I'm helpless on my own. I also see the moral code and standard that I can live and serve by. I can never earn my salvation by keeping the law, but I can please God when my life conforms to his revealed will for me. Fortunately there is a way God will declare me not guilty, and it's in my personal trust of Jesus Christ to take away my sins. Trusting means putting my confidence in Christ to forgive my sins, to make me right with God, and to empower me to live the way he taught. God's solution is available to all, regardless of someone's background or pas behavior.  

Some sins seem bigger than others because of their obvious consequences which are much more serious. But this does not mean that if I only commit "lesser" sins that I deserve eternal life. All sin makes me a sinner, and all sin cuts me off from my holy God. All sin, therefore leads to death, regardless of how great or small it seems. I should not minimize "little" sins over "bigger" sins. They all separate me from God, but can be forgiven.

God declares that I'm righteous, which means to be declared not guilty. When a judge in a court of law declares the defendant not guilty, all the charges are removed from their record. Legally, it is as if the person had never been accused. When God forgave me, my record is wiped clean. From his perspective, it is as if I had never sinned. He can do this, because Jesus took the penalty that I deserved. Christ purchased my freedom from sin, and the price was his life.

There is a fundamental difference between being a disciple / follower (Christian) of Christ and every other religion. Being a Christian is built on grace. Every other religion is based on works, and they can summarized in one word: “do.” There are certain things you have do in order to gain God’s approval, to gain bliss, to gain heaven. There are always rules, regulations, and rituals; something you have to do.

On the other hand, we summarize Christianity is with the word “done.” Jesus Christ has already paid the price for me and you on the cross. It’s done!

Romans 3:24 says, “All need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ” (NCV).

I won’t get to heaven based on what I do. I get to heaven based on what has already been done for me by Jesus Christ.

Accept it, because it is the greatest gift I will ever be offered.

Bottom Line:
God, in his grace, freely makes us right through Christ, who paid the penalty for my sins.

What this means to me:
God treats me much better than I deserve, in his grace, he freely made me right in his sight through Christ whose death paid my penalty.

In summary, I am not saved by works, but by God's grace. It's a gift, and I don't need to work for it. It's not a do, but rather a done. Accepting it was the best gift I could ever get.

Father this morning I thank you again for your free gift of salvation offered to me by my trust and belief in Christ. I pray this morning Father that you fill me with your continued wisdom and guidance in for how I handle myself and my work load. Assist me in being a leader who helps make a difference, who inspires, who shows each person their value, need and importance in life and in work. Help me to fill my conversations with grace. In Jesus name I pray, amen!