The Shocking, Generous, Counterintuitive Wonder of the Gospel
Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.
However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” Rom. 4:4-8
Heavenly Father, this Scripture contradicts everything we assume about the way life is “supposed to work”. We expect to get what’s coming to us. We demand fairness—an honest return for our labor, time, and sweat. Thankfully, the gospel flies in the face of normalcy, conventionality, and predictability.
Thank you for not being “fair” with us. Thank you for being immeasurably generous, irrepressibly kind, and scandalously good. What we could never earn—your perfect righteousness, you’ve credited to us as a gift. What we fully deserve—to be dealt with according to our sin, you’ll never do. What we cannot imagine—that you’d justify ungodly people (like us), you’ve done—legally, fully, and joyfully.
Because of Jesus’ once-and-for-all finished work, our sins are once-and-for-all forgiven, never to be remembered against us. King David called such people “Blessed”; we call them (us) immeasurably rich and incomparably beloved.
Thank you for reconciling us to yourself through Jesus, and for placing us in your now-and-forever favor. Thank you for not only removing all condemnation for our sins, but for replacing deserved judgment with exuberant acceptance.
Thank you for not just welcoming us, but for wanting us; not just being “okay” with us, but “smitten” with us. By the power of the Holy Spirit, drive the gospel deeper and deeper into our hearts. And may our grateful joy be equaled by our obedient love. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ trustworthy and triumphant name.
Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee.