Romans 4:5-8

But to him who is not working, but trusting in the Justifier of the ungodly, his faith is reckoned to him for righteousness, even as also David says the man is blessed to whom God accounts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose transgressions were pardoned, and whose sins were covered.  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not be reckoning sin.”

The person who works to justify himself to God is spinning his wheels in sand, digging a progressively deeper pit in which he will become inextricably buried. When we violate God’s standards, word, will, or nature, we are by definition challenging His sovereignty and maligning His goodness, calling His judgment into question and refusing His generosity; how then can we possibly work enough to repay such an offense? To trust in our own goodness is to trust what we have proven unworthy of trust.

But when we trust God, Who has promised to justify all who call upon Him for salvation from the penalty of our un-good-ness, we submit to His sovereignty, proclaim His goodness, agree with His judgment and gratefully receive His generous gift – and He redeems us. Our sins are covered by the blood Christ shed upon His cross; He paid the criminal’s death so we criminals could live; our sins are pardoned because He took them upon Himself. When we receive Him, and trust Him for our salvation, we no longer work for His acceptance; we recognize any offering on our part to be either an effort to bribe the Just Judge, or a refusal to believe He is so good, or an insistence that He is unjust, or pride that we are somehow ‘too bad’ for Him to atone.

No, when we trust God’s provision for our offenses, He considers our faith as righteousness, and our sins are pardoned, covered by His sacrifice of Himself for our sake, and He does not count our offenses against us; we are free!