What motivates new covenant believers to do the right thing? That is, without the fear of the Law, what causes us to walk the straight and narrow? What motivates us to fly right? Can the same grace that secured our initial salvation also inform our actions? Is grace just a theological concept or does it also empower us to righteous living?
Grace and godly living go hand-in-hand. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people of His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:11-14).
Somehow, God’s grace not only paid the penalty for our sin, but “in the present age” is “redeeming us from every lawless deed”. That is, His grace is currently setting us free from sin’s power and instead of leaving us to practice lawlessness is actually making us “zealous for good deeds”. God’s grace is instructing us in godly living.
Part of God’s grace in reaching out to us is the fact that God has given us all kinds of motivation to do the right thing in His Word. God has not left us with instructions to obey “because I told you to”. Instead, God, in His gracious interaction with His children, has given us many, many words of encouragement and admonition as to why we should obey Him. It is a picture of God’s grace that we are not left in the dark regarding what obedience looks like or why we should do it.
When our children were very young, I used to think when we faced various discipline challenges that this would be much easier when they can speak in clear sentences, string thoughts together, and we can reason and discuss what is happening here. Was I in for a surprise. The discipline actually became harder when they learned how to debate and argue and ask why and logically explain why their upcoming discipline was not warranted. I still remember one of them wanting to discuss the benefits of grounding instead of what was about to happen and I couldn’t figure out when they had even heard the term at such a young age.
But God is not put off by our “why?”. He welcomes our inquiry. By His grace, as a tender Father encouraging His children, He has given us explanation and positive motivation to obey Him. Over the next several weeks, we will look at some of the high motives for action given in the Bible. These are not only for our own encouragement, but are excellent Scriptures to teach your children as motivation for doing the right thing.