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The FREE Gifts of God

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

Consider this verse:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

The “GIFT of God is eternal life”.

Now, reread Romans 4:4.

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

God intends to give us salvation as a gift. Whenever we try to do works to be saved (or remain saved) we, in essence, cheat ourselves from a gift from Almighty God.

I thought I had written all the Lord had given me on this verse and was ready to tackle verse 5...and the Lord took me back in time.

As I read and ponder this I recall being 9 years old and realizing that, if I had a JOB, the BOSS would pay me so much money PER HOUR for my time, focus and effort. Now, this was 1963 and I think my pay was 50 cents per hour.

Not much by today’s standards; but for a 9-year-old, I had hit the jackpot!

I suddenly was available to work pretty much whenever I was not in school or playing baseball. I knew that the more I worked the more my boss was obligated to pay me because HE had offered that salary.

So, I easily slipped into the world system of “works” and “wages” and earning something in my own flesh.

God is showing me how taking my first paying job at a small, family-owned neighborhood grocery store in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans made it difficult for me in my adulthood to accept God's grace as a gift. The entire world system is built on works...and that's great for earning money for my first really nice baseball glove and replacement tires for my bike...and, later, for supporting a family. However, it DOES tend to cause us to approach God - wanting to earn His favor by doing things. We need to be aware of this and that’s why Paul was writing these things in Romans Chapter 4.

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

This is a dynamic which cheats us of the pure joy of receiving God's grace and favor as a gift.

When Adam chose his own works over God’s provision, he set in motion a system which sustained us – and that’s good. Earning wages is a GOOD thing. In Luke 10:7 Jesus said, “…the laborer is worthy of his wages.” Paul quotes this in 1 Timothy 5:18.

So, concerning things which happen in the world system, working to earn is noble and admirable. Paul addressed this here too:

“For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10-11)

What becomes a problem, though, is that we are so habituated to works in order to earn things that when our lives have a collision with the Kingdom of God we encounter a totally different system in play. We don’t know how to operate in that Kingdom.

God’s Kingdom is one of grace and love. Paul refers to this as “the free gift” (Romans 5:15,16,18). God extends these free gifts, not as the Almighty Employer; rather, as our loving heavenly Father.

Our familiarity with and indoctrination into the world system of works (which, ultimately, exists because of satan) tend to cause us to reject the idea of receiving these gifts from Father God. We opt, instead, to try to earn them. As I said earlier, this effectively cheats us of the pure joy of receiving God's grace and favor as a gift and it wires us to interact with God on that level.

The opposite of doing this would be to accept these gifts thankfully and to live in ways which honor God and display our gratitude.

If we force ourselves to earn things freely given to us we cause God’s gift to become mundane in our own eyes. We’re used to that system and we have all resented it from time to time.

This is a dream come true for our enemy, the devil.

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

Paul writes this to us now to clue us in to what we unwittingly do to ourselves so we might abandon the system of works to earn God’s free gifts.

Let’s search our hearts and see if any of this is operational in our hearts. If so, let’s commit to repent and allow the Lord to transform and renew our minds.

“…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

The Lord be praised!

Pastor Mike McInerney

Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.

© September 6, 2023

(for use with permission)

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