I am saddened many people think the gospel message is an excuse people use to avoid being obedient to God. The message of the cross is the strongest motivator on earth to build a solid relationship with Jesus based on the reason we were created: To know and love Him.
Obedience to God is not accepted unless it comes from a humble heart that knows its weakness and does not seek credit for right-doing. Genuine obedience is not self-seeking and is motivated by love for God because He is our creator and redeemer.
We do not serve God to avert his anger, but we are loyal to Him because He loves us and seeks only our happiness and wellbeing. He is a God of self-sacrificing love who was willing to send Jesus to save us from eternal death. He gave His ALL for us and that is our strongest motivation to remain loyal to Him.
Many Christians preach Holy living from a negative point of view. They teach that Hell is waiting for those who deliberately disobey even the smallest of God’s commandments. God is watching and he will not forgive those who live in rebellion against Him. We might fool other people–but God knows and punishes all sin.
This portrays God in a way that does more harm than good. Many have given up serving God because they do not believe they will ever be good enough to reach the highest standards of Christian perfection. “I am going to Hell anyway” they reason, “so I might as well enjoy what life I have here on earth.” Others have given themselves insomnia by laying awake worrying about if they would go to heaven if they were to die in their sleep.
I am sorry to say these people do not understand the true Character of God. God is love. This means love is the core attribute of who He is and How he feels towards us. God does not desire our destruction and it saddens Him when we fear Him.
Love is the only motivation God accepts as genuine because it comes from a heart that is full of gratitude and not fear. One of Jesus’s closest friends on earth teaches us what he learned from Jesus: “Perfect love casts out fear” (1st John 4:18). To know God is to love Him.
Rule number one for Holy Living: Be grateful for the sacrifice God made to save us from death. Meditate on how much God has proven His love by sending Jesus to bear the punishment for our Sin.
Stephen Beagles (2023)