top of page

Earnings vs. Gift

This week was a crazy week! I worked extra hours on the job. My boss even commented, “Oh you’re getting a good check this week, you worked “x” number of hours!” With Christmas right around the corner, knowing our financial situation was looking a little bleak, I thanked God for the opportunity to make extra money. I figured out how much I earned with those hours. I won’t be rolling in the dough, but the extra will come in handy. I may be busted today, but tomorrow will be better. I know that pay is coming down the pike. I feel like doing a little Fred Flintstone twinkle toes all the way to the bank!

I thought about that as I read Romans 4:4-5 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.”

We can look at our place in heaven in two ways. One is accurate, the other is not. Some folks like to think that their good works or following the rules guarantees them a mansion in the clouds. They have done all the right things, worked at charities, lived a “clean” life. Surely God would not punish a “righteous” man or woman. “I have earned heaven,” some who are not familiar with God's word might say.

Ok, let’s look at our own righteousness, apart from Christ, and see what we’ve really earned. “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6 And there’s Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Okay, so you’re not perfect. No one is. Indeed, “as it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one” Rom 3:10 So that is it for our “good” works.

“But I have a good heart,” you say. Well, let’s look at our hearts. The scriptures tell us, ”the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jer. 17:9 Yes, the human heart is deceitful. We even deceive oursel