Romans 4:4

Now to him that works is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
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Ambrosiaster

AD 400
No merit is imputed for reward to the man who is subject to the law— either to the law of works, i.e., of Moses, or to the law of nature. For he who is obliged to keep the law is a debtor. A necessity is imposed upon him by the law to keep it whether he wants to or not, so as not to be guilty, as Paul says in another passage: “Those who resist will incur judgment.” On the other hand, to believe or not to believe is a matter of choice. No one can be required to accept something which is offered as a gift. But he is invited to receive it. He is not forced but persuaded. He believes what he does not see buthopes for. This is what glorifies God. Commentary on Paul’s Epistles. ...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Paul was speaking here of the way wages are given. But God gave by grace, because he gave to sinners so that by faith they might live justly, that is, do good works. Thus the good works which we do after we have received grace are not to be attributed to us but rather to him who has justified us by his grace. For if God had wanted to give us our due reward, he would have given us the punishment due to sinners. ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Now to him that worketh a reward may be looked upon as due for his works, and not bestowed upon him as a free gift; but when it is said he believed and was justified, (this belief or faith was always a liberal gift of God) and when no mention is made of his works, it appears that such a justification and sanctification are not from the works of the written law, nor from any works he could do of himself, but that they are according to the purpose, or decree of grace. (Witham) Such a man, says the apostle, challenges his reward as a debt, due to his own performance; whereas he who worketh not, that is, who presumeth not upon any works done by his own strength; but seeketh justice through faith and grace, is freely justified by God's grace. (Challoner) ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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