God Owes Us Nothing

Photo by Fr Antunes

Photo by Fr Antunes

I’m reading a book right now called Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace? by James Montgomery Boice.   In the middle of this book he discusses the five solas:  sola Scriptura (scripture alone), sola Christus (Christ alone), sola gratia (grace alone), sola fida (faith alone), and soli Deo Gloria (glory to God alone).

Sadly, many Christians today have not heard of the five solas but they might have heard the expression justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. Truthfully, some may not know what the word justification means.  Simply put, “justification is a declaration of God based on the work of Christ, flowing from God’s grace and coming to the individual not by anything they have done but by faith alone.  It is the act of God by which He declares sinners to be righteous because of Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone.”  (Boice, pg. 35) We are justified before the Father because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, able now to stand before Him clean and restored but only because Jesus has become our mediator.  Only God can justify us so that we can stand clean before Him.  We are not able to do this in and of ourselves.

“Justification is more than forgiveness.  Justification can be defined as that act of God whereby He declares absolutely righteous any and all who take shelter in the blood of Christ as their only hope for salvation.  The very nature of God demands that He justify the righteous and condemn the guilty.  If, out of favoritism, or for other reasons, God cleared the guilty and condemned the righteous, He would not be administering justice. Little wonder that one theologian suggested that the holy and righteous God faced the greatest riddle ever when He set out to justify the ungodly.” (source) Again, we are justified by faith, through grace through the atoning blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Nowhere is this explained better than in Romans 3:21-26.  Take a moment to read this passage.  I won’t try to explain it right now, but Romans is your guidepost to understanding much of accurate biblical theology.  It is an invaluable tool for personal growth, which by the way, God has asked us to pursue.

In the section on sola gratia, Boice makes these comments (pgs. 34-35).  “God owes us nothing except just punishment for our any and very willful sins.  Therefore, if he does save sinners, which he does in the case of some but not all, it is only because it pleases him to do so.  Apart from this race and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, no one would be saved, since in our lost condition human beings are not capable of winning, seeking out, or even cooperating with God’s grace.”

Photo by Fr Antunes

Photo by Fr Antunes

Have you ever given deep thought to the concept that God owes us nothing?  It’s true.  God owes us nothing – nada.  It is only out of His great love for us — because of His immense mercy that God shows His called His grace.  Ephesians 2:4-9 confirms this truth.    But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

The reason I’m bringing this up today is because I have a nagging sense that most contemporary Christians expect God to do whatever they demand of Him.  We are not being taught in our churches that God owes us nothing.  We are often being misled to believe that God owes us everything, as if it is our personal right to demand it of Him.  Are you caught in this contemporary trap of deceit?  Do you demand that God listen to your every whim, expecting abundance and prosperity to be yours just for the asking?

It’s not that God does not give us good gifts.  He does.  However, it is not material gain and comfort that we should seek.  It is not health, wealth nor fame.  If we truly see the God of the Bible, we seek Him, not the comforts He can give to us.  Somehow, we have distorted God into a magic-give-me-all-machine.  We fail to appreciate His mercy, His constant and abiding love and the wonder and glory of the sacrifice His Son made on our behalf.  We fail to hope for the one thing He has promised us:  the gift of eternal life — a life in eternity with Him.  We are too busy seeking the things of this life to look forward to the next, more important one.

Are my priorities on track?  I have to ask myself this question every day.  Only through the grace of God can I see clearly.  Only through the eyes of scripture can I discern whether my truth matches God’s.  Only with the guidance of the Holy Spirit can I see God accurately for who He is.

God owes us nothing………….but He has given us everything.

Consider today what “everything” means to you.  Sola Gratia

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Renee on March 14, 2009 at 9:50 AM

    Kathy,
    I am reading a book I had in my library for years and never had time to read it. It’s called ” You will never be the same” by Baselia Schlink. It is amazing! If you have time to look for it, it’s very worth while.

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