Day 18: God isn’t Transactional

Read: Romans 4:1-5

Home buying can be a difficult and intimidating process. With all the different loan options and grant programs available to homebuyers, it can sometimes feel overwhelming. While I was doing some reading on the home buying process, I came across information regarding a grant for first-time home buyers who, if eligible, could give buyers as much as $1,000 to put toward their downpayment! Imagine a scenario where you not only receive a stipulation-free grant for your home down payment but that this grant paid for the cost of your home in full. You wouldn’t have worked for that home, but instead, essentially been given that house. How wonderful would that be!

In Romans 4:1-5, Paul reminds his readers of Abram, who was called out of his homeland, given the new name Abraham, and was promised to be both blessed and a source of blessing. Paul says that even if Abraham had something to boast about, it would not have been before God. All he needed to do was trust God. Nothing he did on his end could make God’s promises better.

Sometimes, we have a transactional view of God – if we do certain things, He will give us things we want in return. That is how a worker views their relationship with their boss. Every couple of weeks, we receive a paycheck for the hours we put in at work. Our pay is not a gift, but what is owed to us. Paul reminds us that is not the case with our justification; certainly, not with the righteousness, we have been given through Jesus Christ! What we have through Jesus – a new identity as righteous sons and daughters of God – has come as a gift.  

Romans 4:5 describes God as one who justifies the ungodly. What a statement! Shouldn’t only those who prove themselves to be righteous be declared as such? That is certainly the way we often think, but that is not how God thinks. Instead, He made a way for the justification of the ungodly to be possible.

We can spend much of our lives trying to prove ourselves worthy of our salvation, but God doesn’t call us to do that. Instead, He calls us to live fully in the gift we have been given. And He calls us to tell others of that gift as well. We do not need to measure up because Jesus has done that for us!

Have you ever tried to “add” to your righteousness? Have you tried to “improve” your salvation? Sometimes, we do those things without even knowing it. But the goodness of God stands alone; it needs no help from us. In your times of prayer today, thank God that the righteousness we have in Christ is complete!

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