What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
Abraham was made righteous simply as a result of believing God. If he had done something to earn it, he would have been able to boast of it. If we, like the worker, think that we have done something that makes us righteous, then our wage (the righteousness) is due us, not given as a gift. When we realize that there is nothing that we have done, or can do, to become just, then it is our faith that is credited as righteousness. We must trust God to do the whole work in us, instead of trying to help our salvation by our own good works--by being the perfect wife, the sacrificing mother, the faithful church attender, the first thing in the morning Bible reader. . . .
Faith, plus anything (even those good things listed above), cancels out the faith part. Can something be free and also cost a dollar? No. Free is free. If something has a cost, then it is something that we can acquire on our own.
Our gift of salvation and the righteousness that accompanies it cannot be bought. It cannot be earned. It is given to us freely, and must be accepted as free, not as something that comes with a cost.
Can you truly be hands off in regards to the good work of your righteousness? Can you be credited with righteousness because you trust and do not work for salvation?
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