by Charles R. Swindoll
Most people I know look forward to payday. You do too, right? For a week, or perhaps a two-week period, you give time and effort to your job. When payday arrives, you receive a hard-earned, well-deserved paycheck. I have never met anyone who bows and scrapes before his boss, saying, "Thank you. Oh, thank you for this wonderful, undeserved gift. How can I possibly thank you enough for my paycheck?" If we did, he would probably faint. Certainly, he would think, What is wrong with this guy? Why? Because your paycheck is not a gift. You've earned it. You deserve it. Cash it! Spend it! Save it! Invest it! Give it! After all, you had it coming. In the workplace, where wages are negotiated and agreed upon, there is no such thing as grace. We earn what we receive; we work for it. The wage "is not reckoned as a favor but as what is due."
But with God the economy is altogether different. There is no wage relationship with God. Spiritually speaking, you and I haven't earned anything but death. Like it or not, we are absolutely bankrupt, without eternal hope, without spiritual merit; we have nothing in ourselves that gives us favor in the eyes of our holy and righteous heavenly Father. So there's nothing we can earn that would cause Him to raise His eyebrows and say, "Now maybe you deserve eternal life with Me." No way. In fact, the individual whose track record is morally pure has no better chance at earning God's favor than the individual who has made a wreck and waste of his life and is currently living in unrestrained disobedience. Everyone who hopes to be eternally justified must come to God the same way: on the basis of grace; it is a gift. And that gift comes to us absolutely free. Any other view of salvation is heresy, plain and simple.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.