But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. — Romans 3:21-24 (NIV)
From the time we are little children, we are taught that rewards follow good behavior. If we eat all of our peas, we will get dessert. If we bring home good grades on our report card, we will get a dollar for each “A”. If we clean our room, we can go out and play. It’s a very effective system. It doesn’t really change when we grow up, either. If we get that project done on time, we may get a bonus. If we drive safely, we get a discount on our auto insurance. Our good behavior is rewarded.
The reward for Christians is not a result of our own good behavior (righteousness). We can never be good enough to earn God’s salvation. The sins we have committed far outweigh our good deeds. We are not justified by our good deeds. We are justified freely by God’s grace. We cannot buy it. We cannot earn it. We cannot be good enough for it. It is all about God’s grace applied to our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. The reward of Heaven is not for those who think they’re good enough. It is for those who know just how bad they are and how good God is. He sent His only Son to be our righteousness. He was good enough and if we trust Him and accept His offer of salvation by grace through faith, we will be rewarded.
How will you live in light of God’s free gift of grace? How can we express our appreciation and gratitude for the reward God has offered?
PRAYER: I know, Heavenly Father, that I can never be good enough to earn the free gift of salvation You have given to me. I thank You that I don’t have to be good to be loved and forgiven. Help me to respond to Your gracious gift by loving You and loving others. I look forward to the reward You have prepared for us. In Jesus’ name, amen.