When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it: “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin” (Romans 4:4-8).

Think of having a debt so great that you could never work it off. You could never earn enough money to pay offer the one you were indebted to. Work, work, work… but no end of the debt was ever in sight, never. Now how would you respond, how would you feel if someone who could pay off your debt did? The bank called you up and said, “You have been totally cleared of your debt. It has been paid in full.” You are declared debt free by placing your trust in the fact that this is the case— debt free by one who could pay the debt!

This is exactly what God has done for us through Jesus His Son. We could never work off our sin debt no matter how GOOD we tried to be, no matter how many GOOD WORKS we sought to perform, no matter how much of a GOOD person we thought we were. None of that would work off our sin debt… never!

You and I could never be made righteous or right with God by what we consider good works, living a good life or being good. No, our sin debt is too great. Consider this: one sin is an eternal issue. One sin would keep you and me out of heaven forever… just one sin! No sin can come into God’s presence. We have to be perfect as God is (Matthew 5:48). There is no way that can happen by what we can do or try to be. It is only by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ’s finished work at the cross, the place where our sin debt has been paid, that we can be declared sin debt free and counted as righteous before God— “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (II Corinthians 5:21). Listen, we have the righteousness of God by trusting the Lord Jesus Christ and not by any works we can do. Works come after we trust the Lord Jesus Christ out of the loving gratitude we have for Him (Ephesians 2:10; I John 4:19). Works don’t save us, but works come because He has saved us! Be joyous and rejoice… your sin debt has been cancelled by trusting Jesus. You are debt free forever in Him!

Dear Father, I am so thankful to know my sin has been paid for by Jesus. Out of loving gratitude may I live a life now that You desire and all that means. May this be done in the authority of Jesus and by the Holy Spirit’s power.

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