Daily Devotions – Obligation vs. Grace


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Romans 4:1-8 (NIV)

Abraham Justified by Faith
4 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”

Grace is a tricky thing to understand.  There are very few things in this life that we would consider a truly free gift.  Yet, that is what grace is, a gift.  To use the fancy, church talk: ‘Grace is God’s unmerited favor’.  It is something we do not deserve, yet it is given to use as a gift!  By contrast, the reward for work is not considered a gift, it is an obligation.  If we accomplish an assigned task, we should expect to be paid.  And so, the contrast is great: works lead to payment; God’s grace is a gift.  – Perfectly clear, right?  Today, consider all the ways that God shows you his grace.  Find a post-it note if it’s helpful or create a new list on your phone and start the tally.  What items show up on your list of God’s graciousness?  A beautiful sunrise, a quiet morning, a free moment or two for devotions, the smile of a friend, a cheerful barista, an opportunity to serve your neighbor, knowledge of God’s forgiveness… What shows up on your list today? 

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