God's Exclamation Points - Part 5
Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them. Romans 4:4-8, NIV
God's exclamation points keep on rolling! An exclamation point is a “shout out,” and this passage in Romans 4 is another shout-out of good news to all who have ears to hear.
The Bible describes God’s biggest shout-out—His greatest act of love towards mankind—in what is known as the “great exchange!” On the cross, Jesus exchanged our sin for His sinlessness. He took our unrighteousness and gave us His righteousness. He shouted His goodness to all humanity through His Son! Today, let’s look at an exciting exclamation point in this passage in Romans:
“Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.” When a person works a job, they expect a paycheck. That paycheck, their wage, is not a free gift but something they’ve earned. They deserve it and the employer is obligated to pay it.
Did you know that we also deserve to receive a paycheck—a wage—for the sin we have committed? It’s true, the Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23, NKJV) God is obligated to pay us the wage we deserve—yes, death. We’ve earned it. We deserve it. However, God has intervened! Jesus wrote the paycheck for sin by paying the wage with His own death. Jesus went to the cross, took our sins upon Himself and paid the wage our sin demanded. He was our substitute on the cross and He took our place!
“However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.” The Lord does not want our “self-righteous” works. He does not want us to trust in our own efforts; He wants us to trust in His Son. The Lord knows that we cannot keep His laws or do enough good works to earn His righteousness. No matter how we slice it, we will blow it. We are unable to keep the Ten Commandments or do enough good works to earn a righteous standing with God. What God really wants is our faith. He wants us to believe in Jesus and His finished work on the cross, from our hearts, and acknowledge it with our mouths. When we do, God credits our account with His righteousness.
“David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works.” What an amazing reality. God credits us with righteousness apart from any good works we do. Pure and simple—a gift!
“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” Once again—a truth so good it almost seems too good to be true! We all know our own transgressions—our thoughts, words and our behaviors. We are well aware of our sins, and yet, God have forgiven us! He will remember our sins no more. Our sins are forgiven and God will never count them against us! Even better —He has given us His righteousness and justified us by declaring us, "Not Guilty!"
“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-24, NIV)
Say It: “Father, thank You for shouting out the good news of the gospel to me! I thank You for the 'great exchange.' Thank You for crediting my account with righteousness apart from my works. I believe and I praise You Lord for such a generous, unspeakable gift! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”