I spotted an old ledger designed to record a company’s payroll expenses while shopping in a secondhand store. A chart inside the front cover listed pay calculations based on different hourly wages. These calculations were also split into 15-minute increments. If a person earned $2.35 per hour, and he worked for 15 minutes, the chart showed that he would receive exactly 59 cents. If his workday lasted 8 hours, he would receive $18.80. Using this chart, a business owner could determine and record exactly what each employee had earned—not a penny less, not a penny more.

What if we all got exactly what we deserved based on God’s standards? The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and all of us are sinners. “No one is righteous—not even one [person]” (Romans 3:10). From God’s perspective, every time we sin, we “earn” death.

Thankfully, as God’s children, we don’t get what we deserve. Instead of death, He gives us life—now and forever. Jesus’ sacrifice makes this possible. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying” (John 11:25). Jesus is the expression of God’s grace to every believer.

When we truly value God’s grace in our lives, two things usually happen. First, we become thankful. We realize all that we’ve been saved from (Isaiah 63:7). Second, our relationships change. We stop giving people what they deserve when they hurt us. We see why it’s wrong to repay evil for evil. We forgive other people because God has forgiven us through Christ (Colossians 3:13).

Peace with God and others adds up to the “rich and satisfying life” Jesus said He would provide for those who love and follow Him (John 10:10). What a gracious God!

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 15:22-41