Not a comforting verse, is it? And a bit confusing. Can we earn our ticket to heaven?

No. Later in Romans 3:23, Paul admits, ”for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We cannot be saved on our own. We need Jesus, plain and simple. No matter how hard we try, we will not live out the laws of God to the letter every single time. Our humanity gets in the way. As the old proverb states, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

So what can Paul mean by this verse? Though at first it sounds contrary to the Gospel, it actually confirms it. Read it again.

Those who try on their own will be judged by their efforts. They may live wonderful, caring lives and be known for their kindness and generosity. They give to the poor, raise their kids with strong morals, and volunteer at the local soup kitchen. But it won’t be enough.

What we who believe will “have done” is drop to our knees and confess when we sin. Salvation is a one time event on the cross, but its effects are ongoing. Jesus deposited His merciful grace in our account, but we have to draw it out to pay our debts. Here is the thing, though. We can’t ever repay Him. Don’t even try.

So it all depends whose money you want to receive from that celestial bank — yours or God’s? Come that glorious and eternal “payday,” how will God repay you?

Heavenly Father, help me always remember I am not supposed to do your will on my own. Keep me humble and ready to confession when my humanness slips in and I slip up. Thank you for depositing your forgiving grace, paid through your Son’s sacrifice, into my account. Amen.

Go Deeper — Buy some children’s play money, or print some out online, and put it in a box. When you sin, pull one out, write your sin on it and then hand it to God. Thank Him for paying for your debt that you can never repay.

Tags: Romans Romans 2
Photo Credit: aquachara