Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” (ROMANS 4:4-8)

On speaking of salvation, Paul gives us a picture of WORK, this is important because in summary all religions are a system of works. You give or do something to make God accept or bless you. But in Christianity, the approach is different, God not man does ALL the work. And it is given to man purely as a gift! As RC SPROUL notes;
That’s grace. Paul couldn’t say it any other way. To him who works, it’s debt; if you merit something, it means that someone is obligated to pay you. If I hire you as an employee and promise to pay you one hundred dollars if you work eight hours, I must pay you for working the eight hours. I’m not doing you a favor or giving you grace. You’ve earned your pay. You’ve fulfilled the contract, and I’m morally obliged to give you your wages.

This is important because even though we speak of works in Christianity, they are solely  a result of our acceptance before God not a reason thereof. Religion says ; I will work hard so I can be accepted, whereas Christianity says because I am accepted, I want to work! Salvation is a gift, and the moment we attach a requirement to the gospel,we are presenting a different gospel.

SPROUL again; With respect to the Lord, we are debtors who cannot pay. That’s why the Bible speaks of redemption in economic language—we were bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:20). Only someone else—Christ—can pay our debt. That’s grace. It’s not our good works that secure our rescue but only the works of Christ. It’s His merit, not ours. We don’t merit anything. He grants us His merit by grace, and we receive it only by faith. The essence of grace is its voluntary free bestowal. As soon as it’s a requirement, it’s no longer grace.

Wishing you all of God’s scandalous Grace and a happy New Year!

~AMR Chapota