The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
(Friends: I originally entitled this series of messages, "For Services Rendered." I am changing that to "For Love." As the series develops, I think you'll see this is more descriptive of the theme. Thanks, Glen).
Part 2 - A Better Motivation
Every born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ will have a sense of indebtedness to God. How can we not?
"He that spared not His own Son, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).
One beautiful hymn suggests the Savior asking His children: "I gave My life for thee. What hast Thou given Me?" I love the song, and I understand the sentiment it expresses. However, I suspect the Lord Jesus does not bear even a trace of the "You owe Me" perspective suggested by the hymn. Desiring and doing the will of God must originate in a far deeper and better motivation than merely the notion of serving Him to repay Him. Love, as defined by Scripture, involves infinitely more than the attempt to reimburse our Heavenly Father for a gift whose price transcends all measure and imagination: "The unseachable riches of Christ… His unspeakable gift" (Ephesians 3:8; II Corinthians 9:15).
Considering the matter in terms of Biblical reason and logic confirms our premise. Do we have any hope whatsoever of independently performing even the smallest act of faith and faithfulness? We do not. "Without Me, ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). What believers do for the Lord originates in the grace He gives to enable our obedience to Him. "I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me" (I Corinthians 15:10). We certainly play a role of responsive faith and submission to His glory and will. However, does not the Christian give all glory to God for any step taken in trusting obedience? "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord" (I Corinthians 1:31). Thus, anything we do that might appear to be reimbursement to our Lord for His graciousness dissolves in the light of His granting grace to empower our doings. In essence, we would pay God back for previous gifts by receiving present gifts to make our reimbursement. Such a notion crashes on the rocks of faulty and unbiblical reasoning. By definition, therefore, loving our Lord in response to Him cannot be viewed in terms of quid pro quo. "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God" (I Corinthians 2:12).
The issue primarily concerns God's love and grace. Love purposes to provide, at whatever cost to itself. Grace administers the provision, with no expectation of repayment. Rightly understood and increasingly embraced by the trusting heart, the wonder of God's devotion toward us will form and inform our own devotion to Him. Discovering the "freely given," as purchased by the life and lifeblood of the Lord Jesus, ignites the pure flame of "I will love Thee, o Lord my strength!" deep in our hearts. Thereby, God's grace fuels our minds, hands, and feet to walk in sincere devotion to Him (Psalm 18:1). No mere motivation of seeking to pay Him back for services rendered could ever illuminate our hearts as does the bright light of love and grace provided in Christ.
Again, our sense of indebtedness is inevitable, and perhaps even an initially sweet response to God's wondrous generosity. It cannot, however, occupy any significant role in our seeking to love the God who so loves us. His grace and truth in the Lord Jesus will not allow for such a sensibility to govern our walk with Him. We cannot pay Him back. He does not call us to do so. What He does for us, He does for love. What we do for Him must also be for love. "We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19). Understanding this truth will go far in leading us to a sincerity of grateful devotion to our Lord made possible only by gifts freely given, and freely received.
"Jesus Christ, whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."
(I Peter 1:7-8)
Tomorrow: The freest gift, the highest cost
Weekly Memory Verse
He giveth to all life and breath and all things.