The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
(Another Doctrine 101 truth that must be understood and embraced by every believer if we are to have hope of pleasing and honoring our Lord)
"For Services Rendered"
On the morning he was to leave for college, Johnny awoke to find an envelope that had been slipped under his bedroom door. "For Services Rendered" read the words imprinted on the sleeve. Inside, Johnny found to his shock an itemized bill that included charges for "Room, Board, Clothing, Medical, Educational, Transportation, Entertainment, Taxes, and Assorted Other Expenses Incurred During Eighteen Years of Living In This Facility." Even more stunning was the amount charged. Johnny raced to the kitchen where his parents sat, eating their breakfast. "What… what is this??" he cried breathlessly. His parents looked at him with their own surprise. "You didn't think you were getting all this stuff for free, did you?" said his father, clearly taken aback by his son's failure to understand the obvious. "But don't worry, Son," he continued, "You can pay your debt in installments!"
It doesn't work that way, does it? No, good parents do what they do for love.
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (I John 4:10).
"For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:3-5).
In God's mind, we owe Him nothing for the salvation He gave to in the Lord Jesus Christ, or for the grace He imparts to enable the living of a life for His glory.
"He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).
If something is free, or in Paul's words, if "all things" are "freely given," then the recipients owe nothing for the blessings they receive. I find this to be one of the most overwhelming thoughts about genuine relationship with our Lord. God gives to us the bestowal of "life and breath and all things" as expressions of grace. By definition, this means no debt, no obligation, and no quid pro quo whatsoever. "Freely ye have received" (Acts 17:25; Matthew 8:10). Like the perfect Father He is, God provides all things in love to His trusting children, and in the sense of righteous responsibility based on who He is as our Provider, and who we are as His supplicants. "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
What then is to be our motivation in relating to God? Clearly, He calls us to a way of life that involves response to His love, grace, and provision. If the sense of obligation to somehow pay the Lord back must not guide our steps, what will? The Apostle John answers the question:
"We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19).
The Apostle Paul echoes, "Walk in love" (Ephesians 5:2). Our Heavenly Father has no interest whatsoever in a response to Him motivated and practiced by anything other than genuine love. Indeed, genuine love made possible our salvation and provision in all things. Genuine love can and must be our only response. This involves no sensibility in the Giver that suggests, "You owe Me." Grace does not allow for that. Nor can we rightly relate to God by the sensibility of "I owe You." Faith does not function by that. Grace rather administers provision by love: "The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 1:14). Faith receives provision by love: Faith worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6). No other relational protocol exists whereby God and humanity can relate to one another in a manner pleasing to Him, and redeeming to us.
Of course, this perspective raises numerous questions. We will consider those in messages to come. For now, let us allow wonder to descend upon our hearts, resulting in astonished worship. In God's heart and mind, we owe Him nothing for His grace in the Lord Jesus. We bear no debt. No bill is forthcoming because full payment for services rendered flowed from the blood shed by the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary. The young man whose bewilderment began this consideration intuitively knew that parents do not charge their children for the sacrifice and expense they incur in the process of conceiving, birthing, and rearing. He was right. Let us also be correct in the perception that our relationship with God rests upon a glorious foundation whereby grace administered the power to freely save us, and grace administers our power to to genuinely respond.
"Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work."
(II Thessalonians 2:16-17)
"Let us have grace, that we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear."
Weekly Memory Verse
He giveth to all life and breath and all things.