There used to be a saying going around years ago for the long-term unemployed; it was "dole bludgers". It was for people who had the capacity to work, but did all they could to avoid it and pick up government money at the same time for financial support.
When it comes to salvation though, we somehow take the opposite position. Instead of avoiding work, we take to it with a mindset that the more work I do, the "more saved" I will be. This mentality of working becomes indoctrinated into our psyche from an early age. Whether it's doing jobs around the family home or doing some favours to get something, if I work I should earn. If I do my forty hours work I should get my pay packet that lines up with that work. This work now becomes an entitlement. But that's not how Paul saw our salvation.
Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Romans 3: 27-28.
Whether it's the Jews of Paul's day or ourselves today, we need to be constantly reminded of the doctrine of justification by faith. Paul saw the Gospel unveiled through what Jesus has done for us at the cross. What we could never do, Jesus has done for us. Jesus totally and completely fulfilled the requirements of the law with faultless obedience to His Father. And now Jesus exchanges our sinfulness for His righteousness and we are counted as holy and righteous in God's sight.
When we think that somehow we can work for our salvation and gain it for ourselves, invariably pride and arrogance will come into it. "I did it. I achieved it". And when this happens, the glory shifts off God and begins to move toward us. That's why Paul says "What becomes of our boasting?" This boasting is the taking of God's glory and trying to shine it onto ourselves.
This is what makes the Gospel such incredibly good news. God rescues and saves the ungodly and declares them righteous. God calls us as we are, fills us with His Spirit, gives us a new heart, deposits faith within us, and with this faith we appropriate all of God's blessings of grace.
My prayer today is that the Gospel of justification by faith will grow in our heart so that Jesus becomes larger and larger. I pray that the Holy Spirit will use every means to keep us from working to earn, but to work joyfully as worship for what God has done for us all.