This outfit was meant to be a recreation of one that I had worn two our three weeks prior, but alas, the orange shirt that I had planned to wear was in the laundry! Happily, my striped orange-red top came to the rescue It ended up coordinating well with my beloved plaid wool skirt. A cute belt broke up the patterns, and tied in with the brown color of my heeled oxfords. My oatmeal cardigan kept me warm and added to vintage flair of the ensemble.
There is a kind of thinking that we as Christians need to be aware of, so that it doesn't creep into our minds and steal our joy. It tells us that we somehow owe Jesus for what He did for us. It makes us start to think that we need to give Him something in return. It is a wrong idea because if we have already accepted Christ's gift of salvation, we are debt free.
On Sunday evening, my pastor spoke about this in the context of Romans chapter four. Verses four through five say, "Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (KJV). The pastor pointed out that there are people in the world today physically punishing themselves to try and pay off the debt that they owe because of their sin. However, there is absolutely no reason to do this. Instead, we must have faith in the saving work of Christ Jesus. He already payed the debt!
The wrong idea of paying the debt ourselves can be manifested not only in physical punishment, but in thinking that we need to obey God because we owe it to Him for what Jesus did. This misses the entire point of Jesus' death for us - we could not pay the price for our sin without eternal death, so He did it for us. It is a mockery of His sacrifice to think that we can pay Him back with our own good works for what He freely gave. Obedience to God should be seen as gratitude and love for Him, growth in sanctification, and the only fulfilling way to live life, not as a way to compensate Him for the "trouble" He went through.
Obligation takes the joy out of serving the Lord. May we never again fall into the trap of thinking that our good works can reimburse Jesus for what He gave. In closing, I would like to share the words of Ephesians 3:8-10 to help us keep the right perspective on works, grace, and the gift of God.