Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Day God Gave You What You Don’t Deserve

“… sin pays wages (you get what you deserve), but God gives a free gift (you are given what you do not deserve).”
— John Stott (1921–2011)
Remember the day, the day God gave you what you don’t deserve? Your salvation in Jesus Christ. Until then we got what we deserved; in our sin we were rewarded, but it wasn’t a reward we saw in the way we should have seen it, for the reward was a wage and that wage amounted to death.
In the whole section of Romans (6:15-23) there is this discussion about slavery, masters and payment. We get what we deserve when we go the world’s way. We get what we should always have expected. We get worse than nothing — we get eternal death; a life of death in this life (though it might seem like life) and a life of death in eternity. Yet, these days we hate talk like that. It’s offensive.
It’s also biblical.
Let’s talk in more palatable terms; about getting what we do not deserve.
Instead of being paid in kind for the fruit we produce (death for the dead fruit we produce) we are given something for free, for the good fruit we produce, that would not ordinarily attain for us anything on God’s stage. We cannot hope to come close to God in terms of relationship. But Jesus did that for us; on our behalf.
Responding to God in the acceptance of salvation is the first, the pivotal, and the only worthwhile work we may make.
From such a response there is a preponderance of good fruit produced. Every good fruit is an endorsement of the eternal life that is being sanctified from within us.
We do not earn wages by our good fruit, for we are on a ‘contract’ that sees us as heirs of a promise. But our good fruit is consistent in kind with the eternal life we are already enjoying; that which we did not and will never deserve.
Eternal life is a gift. We can only ever open our hands and receive it. We can only ever open our hearts and have this gift indwell our soul by love. We cannot receive anything more than eternal life, for eternal life is the ultimate reward.
Now here’s the crux: the acquisition of eternal life — the actual receipt of God’s free gift — is the once-for-all-time compensation for every hardship suffered and every coming persecution. We believe this by faith this side of eternity. We will more fully realise the completion of that reality on That day.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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