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.
There is a difference between a gift and an obligation.
If you have a job and put in your required hours, your boss has an obligation to give you a paycheck. The paycheck is earned. But a gift is given under no obligation. The recipient did not earn it.
This is the point the Bible makes about Abraham. God was not obligated to bless him. Abraham was “ungodly” in many of the same ways we are. He was imperfect, sinned, and fell short of doing all that God requires. God was under no obligation to bless Abraham, and he is under no obligation to bless us.
And yet he did bless Abraham. He gave him great wealth and fame. He made him the father of a great nation. And, most importantly, he made him the ancestor of Jesus, the Savior of the world.
God has done the same for us. Although he is under no obligation to bless us, he has. He has given us food and clothing and shelter, friends and family, and most importantly, someone to save us from our sins.
And now he simply says, “Trust me. Trust that all you have comes from me. Trust that I will provide all that you need for your body and soul. Trust that your sins are forgiven through Jesus and eternal life is yours.”
We did not earn any of these blessings. God was not obligated to give them. But he has, and he does. They are all his free gifts.
Father in heaven, thank you for the gift of my Savior, Jesus. Amen.