Paul next asks a question about a subject that is very important in the Book of Romans. This question comes from the words that God himself spoke in Job 41:11. The question is: Who has the right to demand anything from God? In other words: Can a person give anything to God that God must repay?
People often try to control the actions of powerful men in this way. For example, they might pay a judge to support them - however, that is against Godís law (Exodus 23:8). In the same way, people often made generous gifts to false gods, in order to get the help of those gods. However, the real God does not accept such gifts (Micah 6:6-8).
God does not accept those gifts because all his judgements are right and proper (2:5-11). However, we could not even find a suitable gift for that purpose. That is so because everything in heaven and earth already belongs to God (Psalm 50:12). In our gifts, we only give back to God what he first provided to us (1 Chronicles 29:14).
So, we can never pay God in order to receive his kindness. We cannot pay for his kindness, and we cannot earn it (4:1-7). Godís kindness is a free gift that we do not deserve (5:6-8). God owes nothing to us.
The reason why God helps people is not because of debt, but because of his great love (John 3:16). He works on behalf of those people who believe and trust him (4:23-24; 10:9). He saves them; in other words, he rescues them, from their own evil deeds (6:23; 8:1-2), and from the power of the devil and death (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Next part: Paul praises God (Romans 11:36)
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© 2017, Keith Simons.