Week of September 30 - Day 2

Day 2 Read: Romans 4:4-5

Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness

Reflect: If we were to keep every law of God, would God then owe us salvation? Who has ever kept all of the law?

Consider: The verses constitute a general statement that compares believing with working as the basis for justification. When people work, their wages come not as gifts but because they have earned them. The spiritual realm, however, is different. In this case those who do not work but believe are regarded by God as righteous. Rather than attempting to earn God’s favor by meritorious deeds, they simply trust. They are accepted by God as righteous because of their faith. God is under no obligation to pronounce righteous those who would earn his favor by working. Righteousness is a gift. God freely gives it to those who believe. The disparity between legalism and grace is seen most clearly in the way God grants a right standing to people of faith.[1]

Respond: If someone is hired for a job with an agreed upon payment, could the employer act like he or she was doing the employee a favor by paying them? If salvation is by works and not by grace, is it fair to say that salvation is not a gift but a debt God owes? Why or why not?

[1] Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 123.