Archives For obedience

The relationship between grace and obedience can seem tenuous at times.

An over-emphasis on grace with no thought to obedience can lead to antinomianism, hyper grace, or as some would say “free, cheap grace.”

Focusing on rules and commands as a means to gain the favor of God can lead to rule keeping, law, and legalism. The thinking of “God has done His part, now we do ours” is equally out of balance.

But it is clear the Bible promotes a balance or blend of these two truths.

In his book, Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us, Preston Sprinkle shares a third way which comes from New Testament scholar John Barclay.

This view is called Energism. It stems from the Greek word “energeo” found Galatians 2:8.

“for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles”

“When we obey, we prove we love God.”

This kind of thinking is normal among us. In all man-made, man-centered religions; the emphasis is on obedience. Follow these rules or practices and maybe “the God” will bless you. Climb the ladder and hope you can reach the standard.

In the same way this line of thought reflects in our parenting.

We often reward good behavior with statements like:

  • “Do your chores and you get an allowance.”
  • “Get good grades and we will take you for dinner.”
  • “If you are good, you will get a treat.”

It is easy to slip into this mindset with God.

My 6th Grade Teacher:  Mrs Grace
* Follow the rules.
* Obey so that you will be blessed.

Obviously obedience is a good thing. And it is true there are blessings when you do things God’s way. After all, He made the planet and when we do it His way, it works.

As a believer, a dangerous belief lurks nearby desiring to take root in our hearts.

It’s subtle. It creeps in and begins to affect our emotions and our thoughts.

Entitlement.

Phrases which start with “I” and include verbs like “deserve”, “am owed”, “expect”, and more.

This false belief rears its head in many ways, mostly subtle, but poisonous.

It’s a cancer

I want to discuss this in the context of missions, but it applies to all believers.

Here are 6 Signs of Missionary Entitlement. 

1. I’m obeying, so God must….
I’ve seen people use missions as an attempt to earn the favor of God, or worse manipulate Him to get what they want. Too many missionaries are serving out of guilt or a need to feel worthy.

In our prayers we approach God with an attitude which says he owes us. After all, He is very aware of the sacrifices we are making.

Motivated By Eternal Rewards

September 24, 2012

I’ve recently been posting on some travel strategies drawn from my 21 years of experience. In the pursuit of travel rewards, you must always check your motives for spending a little extra. Do you need that perk, or are you walking in an addiction to accumulation? It becomes easy to justify a $50 purchase of flowers when you know you are getting miles or travel rewards.

The pursuit of rewards is something which is not limited to the travel industry.

It happens in the church.

I’ve heard countless references to obtaining a future prize as a motivation for obedience or an acceptance of suffering.

“At least my crown in heaven is getting bigger!”
“I’m building my mansion!”
“We are storing up treasures in heaven!”
“Give, and it will be given back to you ten fold!”

Are we giving to get?