I’ve had a lot of different types of jobs in my years. In each one, I got paid according to the amount of work I put into them. The harder or longer I worked, the more I got paid. Out of all my jobs, none of them paid me for doing nothing. For each one, I’ve had to submit a time sheet to prove I worked those hours. At the end of the pay period, I received a check that was equal to the agreed upon terms of my pay. Those pay checks weren’t gifts, they were an exchange for my hours of service.
All of our lives that’s how it’s been. We work and we get something for it. I think that’s why it’s hard for so many of us to accept that salvation is a free gift and nothing we could earn. We live with a “You get what you earn” mentality and we bring that into our faith. With that line of thinking comes thought that if I work hard enough, I can achieve a better or more full salvation. It’s hard to accept when we look at it like adults, but Jesus said unless you become like children, you cannot enter the Kingdom.
My child doesn’t have the ability to work to get what he wants. He simply asks and I give things to him because I love him. I think God approaches us the same way. There’s nothing we could ever do to afford salvation so He gives it to us freely if we ask for it. That’s how He chooses to bless us. He wants to give it away to us for free instead of making us earn it. Looking at it that way helps us to be in the proper father / child mindset for our relationship.
Romans 4:5 puts it this way, “But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. (NLT)” We could never earn enough in our life time to pay what Jesus did for our salvation. It’s a free gift to His children. Since He paid the price for us, the least we can do is live for Him. We just have to do it with the understanding that the works aren’t buying our salvation, they’re proving our faith and faith is what God counts as righteousness.