The Great Accountant
In today’s first reading (Romans 4:1-8), St. Paul continues his great discourse on faith and righteousness with the language of accounting.
Abraham believed God,
and it was credited to him as righteousness
The language of accounting may seem to be a strange way to speak of the ineffable grace of the invisible God.
The fact is that the human approach to religion and morality is very often like accounting: such and such an amount under the good column, such and such an amount under the bad column, and so forth.
Some of us – sad to say – operate with two sets of books: on the one hand, the balance sheet of righteousness we display for all to see, and on the other hand, the dark and tangled trail of transactions we hide from the light of day.
However, just as the Lord’s ways are not our ways, so too the Lord’s accounting is not our accounting.
First of all, there is no “cooking the books” with God: everything is transparent to the Lord.
Second, if you think the taxman's audits are dreadfully thorough, wait until what comes on Judgment Day.
But the most important difference between God’s accounting and ours is the accounting entry for which there is no human parallel:
Grace is an entry that only God can make. Grace not only balances the books: it wipes them clean and fills them up. Grace is real: it is no accounting fiction.
Grace is also perfectly simple: so simple that our convoluted minds cannot fully understand it. Only at the end of time, when the great Book is opened, will we really see how the light of grace shines within the ledger of God.
In the meantime, while it is important for us to keep track of the balance sheet of our moral and spiritual lives, it is much more vital for us to focus on, to open ourselves to, and to be thankful for God’s great accounting entry of grace.
The grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be with us all.