Rewarded according to our works? (part 7)

The staggering thing about being rewarded according to our works, is that we’re rewarded for believing Jesus did all our works for us! It’s in Romans 4:24-25. God raised Jesus for our justification, and when we believe that, that’s when the righteousness we need for our eternal reward is credited to us.

All God needs, then, is our belief. He then translates our belief into righteousness. This is the amazing ability God has. Here we are, dead in the water, but here’s God “who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were,” verse 17. God can take what’s dead and call it righteous! He can take a dead, useless sinner whose works amount to nothing, who falls far short of contributing anything toward his eternal future, and credit him with righteousness for nothing but belief.

Belief in what, though? Belief “in him, who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,” verse 24. And what did raising Jesus from the dead accomplish? He “was raised to life for our justification,” verse 25. It isn’t our works that justify us or make us righteous and acceptable to God, it’s his works. God did all the works we’d ever need for our reward in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Why would anyone think their works are necessary, then, when God’s already done all that’s needed for us? He didn’t need our works anyway, because he’s able to love us while we’re yet sinners (Romans 5:8).

What does one make of that, then? Well, hopefully, the same thing Paul made of it: “Therefore,” Romans 5:1, “since we have been justified (notice that’s past tense?) through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We can relax. We are at peace with God. Why? Because we’re already justified. How? By faith. By simply believing that all the righteousness we need for our eternal reward has already been done for us. It doesn’t depend on anything we do whatsoever. Why not? Because, Romans 4:16, “the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring.”

God wanted to give us our eternal reward, he didn’t want us working for it. He wanted it to be his promise to us, and a promise he could guarantee purely by his grace and not on any works from us. And all God asks of us is to believe that. You could say, then, that rather than rewarding us according to our works, he rewards us according to our belief, because once we believe him that’s when the doors to eternity swing open, Romans 5:2…(continued in Part 8..)

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