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  • Writer's pictureTim Hemingway

A Deficit Removing Gift


"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.” Romans 4:4-5.

Our problem is a problem of deficit. Not a deficit of money, but a deficit of righteousness. And to be right with God we need that deficit to be settled, once for all. Put simply, we need righteousness to be added to our account until all the deficit is gone. God will be forever angry if even one little bit of rightousness is missing from the ledger of our lives.

If that deficit were to be worked off by us then the wages of that work could not rightly be called a 'gift' - no one is gifted their wages after a hard day's work. Those wages were earnt; they are rightful reward for labours rendered.

'However', Paul says, if a person trusts God instead of working, then whatever they receive is received as a gift, not as a right. In that case, God does the work and the one who trusts him with the work gets the benefit - free of charge.

What is clear is the deficit can't be cancelled, it has to be worked off. The problem is, that any work we do falls short of the mark (Romans 3:28). The glorious good news is, that any work God does on our behalf is both perfect and complete. That means that the only way to have the deficit removed from our account, is to receive the gift of 'Righteousness' from Him freely. That righteous credit we receive at his hands is called 'Justification', and it is free; it is by grace; and it is by the redeeming work of Jesus (Romans 3:24).

When Jesus was born, he was born to work (John 4:34); to work on our behalf, so that the wages of his perfect work would be credited to our account and in being so credited, would remove, forever, our dreadful deficit. By that work we are declared, wonder of all wonders (literally), 'Righteous' before God; just in his sight; and worthy of soul-satisfying communion with him, forever!



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