Grace

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Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. Romans 4:4

 

If Abraham had been pronounced righteous because he left Ur, or because he was willing to sacrifice his son, then he would have been given salvation as a reward. God would have been paying off a debt. But Paul’s argument is that it was nothing Abraham did or didn’t do — other than believe what God said was true — which justified him.

 

So too, if you are attempting to work your way into God’s favor — either prior or subsequent to your salvation — then He owes justification to you. Whenever we subconsciously think, ‘Now, Lord, I prayed a whole bunch today, so I know it’s going to be a great day,’ the implication is, ‘Lord, You owe me.’ And that nullifies grace. God will not be a debtor to any man. He won’t owe us anything.

 

That is why there will be no boasting in Heaven — not only with regard to our salvation, but with regard to any of God’s blessings. A lot of times we forget that and think it’s because of our great faith or our prevailing prayer, our diligent works or our dedicated devotion that God has blessed our life.

 

It’s a hard thing to say, but it’s true: Some of the greatest blessings both in my life and flowing through my life have come when I have not been in prayer, when I have not had strong faith, when I’ve not been what I should or want to be. God’s blessings during those times remind me that everything which comes my way is because of grace — unmerited, undeserved, unearned favor — and they create in me a heart that wants to love the Lord and worship Him, rather than a tendency to say, ‘If I’ve accomplished this with three hours of prayer, just think what I could do with six hours!’

 

Am I saying we should never pray? If you’re praying to earn reward, give it up. But if you’re praying because you enjoy the Lord, are amazed at His goodness to you, because you want to participate with Him in what He’s doing on the earth and you love to spend time with Him, because you’re thankful for Him and want to be close to Him — pray on!

 

If you get up at 3:00 tomorrow morning to pray in order to fulfill an obligation, God won’t be impressed a whit. But if you get up at 3:00 in the morning just to enjoy Him, He’ll be blessed. Great is the day when a man, a woman, a church learns that it’s all grace, for they will find themselves praying, worshipping, studying, witnessing — not because they’re trying to earn God’s blessing, but because they’re responding to the One Who’s been so good to them and loves them so deeply.

Jon Courson from A Day’s Journey