“When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.”
Romans 4:4-5 NLT

As long as society has been around there has been a system of work and reward. Man’s principle need is for warmth, shelter and food to eat. For Adam, as he tended the Garden of Eden, God’s provision was there to keep him alive and well. There was fruit for food, streams to drink from, and two trees, the fruit of the one to keep him permanently alive, “the tree of life”, and the fruit of another tree that provided the knowledge of “good and evil”. We know the story and what happened. But ever since, and as a consequence of, what we call the “Fall”, men and women have had to work hard to provide for their own basic needs. We can read the story in Genesis 3.

In our relationship with God there is a work link between His Kingdom and the earthly kingdom of which we are a part. Colossians 3:23, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people”. Bringing God into our work environment is important, because it provides an added impetus to do well. In our jobs, we get paid for the service we supply. A wage agreed when we start, and is paid regularly during the period of employment. But a problem can occur if we try and take the same principle into God’s Kingdom. Heaven’s economy is not like the economy in the world around us. In our earthly work, we earn not just our wages, but also the praise and encouragement of those we work for. And through that we can earn promotion or other favours. But the important thing about God is that there is nothing we can do to earn His favour, no matter how hard we think we are working for Him. Nothing can make Him love us more.

According to Paul, the currency in God’s Kingdom involves righteousness, and that is acquired by our faith in God, a faith that believes that are sins are forgiven. Through Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary, we are now able to stand righteously before God. There is no other way. Through Jesus, and our faith in Him, we receive forgiveness of sins. We can’t earn it by working harder. It doesn’t depend on the number of sermons a minister or pastor preaches. Or the number of times we attend a prayer meeting. Or how many hymn books we hand out on a Sunday. Or how often, even, we clean the church toilets. These things are important, but they won’t gain us forgiveness for our sins. As Paul wrote, “But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.” 

Dear Father God. We are so grateful for Jesus. We thank You for Your forgiveness of our sins. We believe You – we really do! Amen.