[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Motivations

by Antonio da Rosa

I am teaching a hermeneutics class at my Bible college alma mater for a group of pastors and other ministers. During our discussion on interpretation of parables I found it necessary to teach quite extensively on many of Christ’s parables, for the author of the hermeneutics text that we are using seems to have failed to employ the principles that he had taught in the earlier chapters, namely the grammatical, historical, literal, and rhetorical interpretation of the text, when making reference to these parables.

I have not taken a tally, but I am convinced that many of Christ’s parables have much to do with eternal rewards. This led to a discussion on motivations to serving Christ.

As a simple and quick project I assigned my class to speak to at least 3 Christians and ask them their motivations for service to God. I have done the same.

Person #1
1) Bring God glory
2) To have a better relationship with Him
3) To learn more about Him

Person #2
1) Love for God
2) Personal benefit (temporal?)
3) Family benefits from it

Person #3
1) Love of Christ
2) Joy and satisfaction
3) God’s glory

This third person added this element:
I would NOT say gratitude!
I think it is VERY unbiblical
Many people say that we are to serve Christ because He did this or that for us.
Paul says here serve out of Joy

I was asked by this third person what my greatest motivations are. I could not pick three:

1) for God's glory
2) out of gratitude for eternally saving me
3) eternal rewards
4) fear of temporal chastening and rebuke at the judgment seat of Christ (the bema)
5) The meaning and purpose that it gives

Many people in the Traditionalist camp would say that we must work for Jesus without any self-concerned motivations whatsoever, but merely for "God’s glory". First I would say that they are being much more humble then the apostle Paul was:

1 Cor 9:24-27
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
NKJV

Next I would say that they have a very narrow view on what it means to glorify God. Any motivations that God gives us for Christian service ought to be considered as God-glorifying! When Jesus says:

Matt 6:19-21
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
NKJV

Luke 12:33-34
33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
NKJV

He is giving a grand and God-ordained motivation for Christian service! God knows what motivates a man, and He put such a motivation in his heart when He created man. What is the reasoning that Jesus gives?

For where our treasures are, there our heart will be also.

Eternal rewards, the opportunities for the conditional honors, glories, and inheritance in the kingdom of God, are motivations par excellence. God knows how to command the affections of His people!

Being self-concerned and motivated in this arena is glorifying to God, and it is a shame that the Traditionalist does not see things this way. He is so busy trying to guard his conception of God, that he throws away the commands of Christ to lay up rewards for ourselves in heaven; for he, the Traditionalist, with false humility, regards the conscious pursuing of rewards as inherently (and sinfully?) selfish.

This mindset pervades Traditionalist theology!

The gospel of John consistently and constantly pictures eternal life as an absolutely free gift to be desired, and offers this gift as the motivation for faith in Christ! It would only take someone reading the gospel of John with his eyes open to come to the conclusion that the supreme motivation for faith in Christ is to appropriate for oneself the absolutely free gift of eternal life!

But for the Traditionalist, the motivation for faith in Christ as the reception of eternal life, eternal well-being, is sinfully anthropocentric. Thus with their skewed and narrow views on God’s glory, they “reject the commandment of God, that [they] may keep [their] tradition.” (Mark 7:9).

John 7:37-39
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."
NKJV

Jesus in essence is saying “Men and women! You have a need, you thirst! Quench your eternal thirst by believing in Me!”

Whatever God, in His word, puts forth as motivations for faith and actions glorifies Him, and are beautiful and legitimate incentives that should not be spurned, rejected, or impugned.

The Traditionalist has long used his argument and charges of "anthropocentricism" to sully and disparage both Free Grace theology and Christ's commands. When Jesus says be concerned about laying up rewards in heaven; when Jesus says be motivated to trust Me by the guaranteed prospect of receiving the grand and absolutely free gift of eternal life, He means what He says. The New Testament is streaming and cohesed by the theme of eternal rewards! This is a huge motivation for Christian living and ought to be heralded as such far and wide from our pulpits!

For an interesting discussion, go to Rewards and Selfishness, an excerpt from Zane Hodges on my personal blog.

Antonio da Rosa

29 Comments:

  • Excellent thoughts.

    It is so unfortunate that this subject is so neglected. Churches are infected with the Arminian (Calvinist) "I will just be glad to be in heaven" attitude.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, June 20, 2006 12:49:00 AM  

  • Reward-based motivation is often quite effective. Taking any sense of what we stand to gain from serving Christ out of the service and it is in danger of becoming something that we think we have to do instead of something that we want to do. At the same time, however, Jesus also said to let your light shine before men so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. If we lose sense of doing things for the glory of God we will probably have a rather unbalanced approach to service.

    I'm not entirely sure what I would have said if someone asked me. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I probably could come up with three things fairly quickly, but they might be what I consider the "right" answer rather than a reflection on reality in my own life. I'll have to think about that!

    Interesting post.

    Angie

    By Blogger The IBEX Scribe, at Tuesday, June 20, 2006 4:42:00 AM  

  • The desire to serve God through any means is a self-centered decision and rightfully so. We do so, not by virtue of being better persons but, because we were enlightened to the truth, the way and the life. Wouldn't any reason beyond that be consequential? We simply know that in Christ we have hope and outside Him there is none.

    By Blogger Kc, at Tuesday, June 20, 2006 7:31:00 AM  

  • It is also appropriately self-focused to invest in your fellow believers, in their lives and in their needs, so it is not an either or thing as it is often presented as.

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Tuesday, June 20, 2006 10:31:00 AM  

  • Thank you all for your comments. This post had been on my mind for a few days.

    I see the prospect of rewards as a powerful incentive and motivation to Christian service.

    No teaching concerning discipleship and Christian service is balanced without a grand dose of "misthology" (from the Greek word "misthos" (reward, wage).

    Satan is at work blinding people's eyes to the truth of eternal inheritance and loss in the future ages.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, June 20, 2006 8:01:00 PM  

  • I would say, rather than reception or loss of reward as the primary "motivation" for holy living, that in fact scripture makes clear that love of Christ should motivate us in all that we say and do (II Cor. 5:14). Rewards are a bye-product of a heart enflamed with the love of Christ--they shouldn't be the primary focus; rather subsidiary! In other words I can do great things for God; but unless my motivation is pure (i.e. love of God) it's no better than being a "white-washed tomb"!

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Thursday, June 22, 2006 3:55:00 AM  

  • Excellent post, Bobby.

    Gojira

    By Anonymous Gojira, at Thursday, June 22, 2006 4:25:00 AM  

  • Hi Bobby,

    Hope all is well.

    In my view, which IMO is consistent with 1 Cor 5, is that my love of Christ (or even my awareness of His love for me, if verse 14 can be taken that way) magnifies my desire to please Him. So again, I don't see why rewards/wages are so frowned upon. I think missions giving tends to be something of a barometer of how serious we are about pleasing Christ at the judgement seat of Christ.

    God bless ya bro.

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, June 22, 2006 11:24:00 AM  

  • Here's 2 Cor 5:9-15...

    9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences. 12 For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, June 22, 2006 11:25:00 AM  

  • Hi Jodie,

    Notice, I didn't "frown" upon rewards--rather "rewards" as the ultimate motivation. What makes my service for the Lord any different than Bill Gates' philanthropy? It is, hopefully, that I am motivated by a love for Christ that drives all my thoughts and actions! Sure rewards are taught in scripture, and are an reality that I also believe many "Reformed" folks flatten out, which is exegetically irresponsible--but I don't think scripture says that rewards are our "motivation". As the context of II Cor 5 reveals, as you highlight Jodie, motivation is love of Christ, which will result in "reward"--but I don't think "reward" should be the primary focus--although it is "a" focus ;~)!

    All is well, Jodie, thanks! Hope you're doing good!

    Hi gojira, thanks!

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Thursday, June 22, 2006 12:13:00 PM  

  • BTW Jodie,

    I believe II Cor 8--9 supports your idea on giving and missions!

    Just to "re-iterate" I believe love is the driver that motivates all that we do--is this what you mean by your "magnifies"?

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Thursday, June 22, 2006 1:38:00 PM  

  • Not long ago a man from my folks church who was a millionaire was giving 90% of his income.

    He loves the Lord. I am convinced he did it out of love for the Lord. Rewards will not be a gimme. That will be hard to come by. Remember that Jesus spoke a parable of workers in the vineyard being called all the way up to the last hour and receiving the same reward. The same reward and payment. Eternal life is not earned so that is a reward...yet some started at the beginning of the day and received the same as those at the end. Rewards will not be a gimme. Most peoples works will burn away by fire and they may receive one crown. There will be very few who receive what Paul does. Very few.

    In nascar if one wins a race they later inspect the cars and then deduct. The same can be for pole qualifying, so we must take heed. The ref will mark off penalties.

    Remember my friend that I spoke of who gave 90%. Well he is in Jail right now over a technicality of how he misapropriated funds in order to give to widows. It was an illegality that is seemingly minor to most.

    This is how it will be one day. If we don't have the love of God in our hearts at this time, then those who are motivated otherwise will be gnashing teeth. Praise God we are saved and can strive for the masteries...but the Gold medal will not come easily. Thank God he will still love and favor us regardless.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Thursday, June 22, 2006 3:35:00 PM  

  • I see the motivations for the godly life and Christian service as reciprocal and circular.

    Love, no matter what the object, doesn't come out of a vacuum. Love is grown.

    Jesus, the master psychologist, in the book of Revelation, gives advice for the Ephesian believers who had lost their first love.

    He doesn't say, "Love me wherewith the love you had in the beginning". Jesus' advice is:

    He says, "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works" (Rev 2:5.

    Why would he say such a thing? Well, when we begin to sacrifice for an object of love, our love for that object grows, whether it is your wife, the Caddilac in the garage, or God.

    God knows how to command the affections (read "love"!) of His people. He offers grand and excellent incentives and rewards for Christian service. Jesus says that if our treasure is in heaven, there will our heart be also.

    Therefore, when we make our treasures in heaven, we move our heart there, which in turn grows our love, which in turn grows our commitment and devotion, which also grows our prospects for eternal rewards, etc.

    Paul had no qualms, and minced no words that he was striving for the prize! This was a major motivation for him!

    You must remember that the inheritance, co-glorification with Christ, and co-reigning with Him are senses of greater or lesser intimacy with Christ in the coming age! Our intimacy with Him now will have a correspondence to the intimacy we have with Him in the age that will be birthed on the Day of the Lord.

    A love of Christ is not unusual for the one who meditates on the incredible sacrifice of Jesus and on the absolutely free gift that He alone gives by faith in Him for it. But as with all loves, unless it is cultivated, it will grow cold.

    The doctrine of rewards gives incentive and motivations for Christian service and good works, which in turn causes our love to grow, which love Christ asserts is following His commands.

    Like I said, these things are circular and reciprocal.

    That is why we need a well-rounded doctrine of Christian motivations that must include a major emphasis on misthology, the doctrine of rewards.

    Gratitude, love, duty, and the rest can only go so far divorced from misthological considerations.

    My contentions are not to disparage the rest, but elevate the sorely neglected motivation of eternal rewards!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, June 22, 2006 5:46:00 PM  

  • I understand that love can dim, but for the believer...it never dies. It cannot. We are new creations with an unconditional love from God. Some of your points are good and truly Paul said he pressed toward the prize...no doubt and this is good, but as to your point here:

    "Paul had no qualms, and minced no words that he was striving for the prize! This was a major motivation for him!"

    I agree that it was a major motivation but he said it was the Love of Christ that constrained Him. The Love of Christ as Bobby points out is "Thee Motivation!"

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Thursday, June 22, 2006 6:00:00 PM  

  • Hey Brian,

    I appreciate your time that you took to read the post and the comments. I pray that all is well with you and your family.

    Be blessed!

    Antonio

    PS: for Jodie and Bobby:

    Do you think that "the love of Christ" in 2 Cor 5:14 is objective genetive or subjective, and why.

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, June 22, 2006 6:59:00 PM  

  • When I wrote this line:
    -----
    Gratitude, love, duty, and the rest can only go so far divorced from misthological considerations.
    -----
    These considerations should not only be positively misthological, but also have a consideration of the negative aspects of a unfaithful life accounted for at the Bema.

    The fear of loss (Jesus comes as a theif in the night!) should be a consideration as well!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, June 22, 2006 7:02:00 PM  

  • Antonio said:

    "The doctrine of rewards gives incentive and motivations for Christian service and good works, which in turn causes our love to grow, which love Christ asserts is following His commands."

    Antonio, I think this needs to be framed the way the apostle Paul frames our "relationship" to God. In Eph 5 Paul/Holy Spirit provides the marriage framework as the touchstone concept of how we should understand our inter-relating to God--and others. We are the bride of Christ (as John likewise picks up on in Revelation). To go with this analogy (which is more than an analogy, IMO, and is an ontological reality), in human marriage I don't do things for my wife so she'll buy me a shirt, car, or even a house; I do things for her (when I'm walking in the Spirit ;)merely because I love her, and want to cultivate intimacy with her through my giving of self for her (Phil. 2:1-8). Sure she might buy me a shirt, or a car (that is just a wishful example :), etc.--but not because I've "earned" it, rather because she simply loves me, and the over-flow is to give gifts. In other words, "rewards" in human marriage, are a natural bye-product and over-flow of a pre-supposed intimate relationship with my wife--the same goes with our relationship with Christ. He will/does shower His bride with "gifts/rewards" because of who He is--and because who we are relative to our "union" with Him!

    Having said that, I don't see the "reward" as the object that cultivates my love for Christ; rather I see Christ's love for me as the motive, that fosters reciprocating love from me back to Him--which a natural consequence then is a showering of gifts/rewards from Him to His bride. Which leads to this question from Antonio,

    Antonio said:

    "PS: for Jodie and Bobby:

    Do you think that "the love of Christ" in 2 Cor 5:14 is objective genetive or subjective, and why."


    I believe it's more than likely a subjective genetive, but the context doesn't necessarily preclude the idea of it being an objective either; it could be both/and, note NT scholar and commentator, Murray J. Harris' comment here:

    "In the context the genitive in the phrase . . . he agape tou Christou, lit. 'the love of Christ' . . . is less likely to be objective ('our love for Christ') than subjective ('the love Christ showed'), though some commentators (e.g., H. Lietzmann) and grammarians (e.g., M. Zerwick) believe that both senses are intended. Zerwick comments (Biblical Greek [Rome:Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1963], p. 13): 'In interpreting the sacred text . . . we must beware lest we sacrifice to clarity of meaning part of the fulness of the meaning.' It is certainly true that the Christian's love for Christ motivates his action (i.e., love of Christ rather than love of money, love of position, etc.), but Paul here is concentrating on an earlier stage of motivation." (Murray J. Harris, ed. Gabelian, "The Expositer's Bible Commentary," 352)

    I think the following clauses (see II Cor. 5:14b.ff) elucidate the emphasis of Paul's usage of the subjective genetive in this context. Paul speaks of the "love of Christ compelling us", and he clarifies "whose" love He's referring to in 14b. by highlighting the fact that He's speaking about (when talking about "love"), contextually, Christ's love demonstrated at the cross of Christ (also cf. Rom 5:6,8)--which again would make me prone to think that this is a subjective genetive--but as Zerwick points out, it's possible that there is an objective usage as well.

    I Jn 4:19, another context altogether, but pertinent to this discussion gets at our motive for loving Christ, in a causal way, more clearly even, than does II Cor. 5:14. We love God, because He first loved us! This is the guiding presupposition of all that we say and do!

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Friday, June 23, 2006 1:16:00 PM  

  • Bobby,

    I don't believe your marriage analogy works all that well.

    My wife, out of her own accord and will, has not decided to motivate me and give me incentive to work for her by giving me rewards. She has not, within the counsel of her will, to proactively reward me with inheritance, glory, honor, and treasures.

    God has.

    Not only that, Jesus commands that we pursue rewards, because He knows that when we pursue rewards, our affections turn toward God. Jesus said it, I am not making this stuff up.

    Paul was running a race for the prize. That was his motivation.

    No matter where you turn in the New Testament, you will find the doctrine of rewards. The NT is saturated with the prospect of treasures in heaven, and the contingent glories, honors, and privledges of co-reinging, co-glorification with Christ, and inheritance in the age to come.

    I have not denied that love is a major motivation. But alone it doesn't represent all that which should become motivations in the Christian's life as contained in the Bible.

    The doctrine of rewards should be elevated to stellar status. The doctrine of rewards, in my estimation, cannot be overemphasized!

    Heb 12:1-2
    Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
    NKJV

    Luke 24:26
    Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?"
    NKJV

    Rom 8:16-17
    The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God; and co-heirs of Christ, if indeed we co-suffer [with Him] so that we may also be co-glorified [together with Him]. (My translation)

    Rev 3:21
    21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
    NKJV

    Rev 2:26-28
    26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations --

    27'He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
    They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels' --

    as I also have received from My Father;
    NKJV

    Not to charge you or anyone else here, but the Traditionalist and common understanding of motivations provides a sense of a false-humility to me. I am excited and unashamed to proclaim that I am working, eduring, and suffering for rewards and the opportunity to be co-glorified with Christ.

    Jesus worked for this motivation, Paul did, and Jesus commands us to as well.

    2 Tim 2:11-13

    11 This is a faithful saying:

    For if we died with Him,
    We shall also live with Him.
    12 If we endure,
    We shall also reign with Him.
    If we deny Him,

    He also will deny us.
    13 If we are unfaithful [apistoumen-contrasted with God's faithfulness]
    He remains faithful;
    He cannot deny Himself.

    We are to seek rewards for God's glory. It is as simple as that. No theology but Free Grace theology does justice to the doctrine of rewards. It is squashed and leveled in all other positions.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, June 23, 2006 3:22:00 PM  

  • Well thanks for the well wishing Antonio. I hope all is well with your family too.

    I thought Bobby analogy fit well. Rewards needs to be stressed, because it teaches us to play by the rules. Playing properly without love results in loss. We see this in Ephesus. Right motive and sincerity without playing by the rules will result in loss as well. Many ecumenical ministries will suffer here. If both are harmonized together than the rewards will be truly great.

    Jesus told us to say we are wicked and unprofitable servants and we have done only our duty...then later He calls us friends and speaks of Love.

    Paul harmonizes this when he says, I count not myself to have apprehended, forgetting those things behind(sorta echoing the unprofitable nature of boasting in deeds) and pressing on. He constantly echos the Love of Christ and Grace working within him as well as the prize.

    Remember also Jesus said, "Whoever is forgiven little, the same loveth little, but whoever is forgiven much, loves much."

    Paul said he was the least of the Apostles and unworthy of even being named among them, but in the same text he states that he labored more than the rest...why?

    He deeply understood the love and Grace God had given him.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Friday, June 23, 2006 5:53:00 PM  

  • Well I would agree, Antonio, my analogy does break down, as all do . . . but you got the jist of what I was saying--that's the important thing ;-)!

    I never denied the teaching of rewards in the NT scriptures--just the idea that rewards are the primary motivator for living a holy Christian life. In fact I would say that your desire to "earn" reward is motivated by the fact that you love Jesus, and desire to know Him more fully, am I right?

    What about my thoughts on the subjective/objective genetive? Here I spent all that time answering your question, and you didn't even give me your view ;-)!

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Saturday, June 24, 2006 1:48:00 AM  

  • Hey Bobby,

    You know how the Traditionalist teaches the 3 tier or 3 legged approach to assurance. I teach a multi-faceted approach to Christian motivations.

    I feel they all feed off of each other, are reciprocal, and each cause the desire for the other to grow.

    I do love Jesus. One of my favorite verses is this:

    Luke 22:28-30

    28 "But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. 29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom...

    Because they have endured, they will have the greatest intimacy with Christ in the coming age. They will be the ones eating and drinking at JESUS' table.

    As to the genetive, I believe that Paul was purposely ambiguous.

    hehe

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Saturday, June 24, 2006 1:58:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    Thanks for the response! I agree with you on the genetive! I don't necessarily agree with you on the "inner circle" theology, i.e. co-heirs; but I do believe there is correlation between our yieldedness now, to the LORD, and our intimacy "then", in glorification!

    I agree there is a multi-faceted plethora of incentives in the scriptures; but I believe "love of Christ" is the sine qua non and touchstone motivation for "obedience" to His commands!

    In Christ,

    Bobby

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Saturday, June 24, 2006 5:19:00 PM  

  • My point and I hope you will see it. I tried to be helpful on a post on Naaman and something Jonathan Edwards stated is that the rewards chase teaches us something. Trying to earn Gods favor teaches us something. So in reality continue in your quest for rewards Antonio. It is a good thing, but remember as Jesus told the mother of James and John. You don't know what you are asking for, but you will find out. Are you able to be baptised as He was? The reward lieth there, and the catch is...only the love of God can take you there. Much of FG theology growing up taught that the rewards were kind of like the AWANA program and this actually leads to a deficient understanding as that elevates the praise of man. Much of American Christendom projects this as well, but God is trying to teach us to be like that Hotel Manager from Hotel Rwanda. Do yourself a favor and go watch it. This is were the reward lies. As I said before, and I don't mean this in a derogatory way...the rewards are not going to be easily attained. Paul prayed to know Christ in power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his suffering and to be made conformable to his death. He wished himself accursed for his brethren according to the flesh. What I am trying to get across is that this is not a ping pong tournament and only the love of God will get you to the plateu that you seek. Keep on striving for rewards though and perhaps one day you will see this.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Saturday, June 24, 2006 7:17:00 PM  

  • Thought provoking as usual, that takes allot for me.

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at Sunday, June 25, 2006 4:35:00 AM  

  • “But for the Traditionalist, the motivation for faith in Christ as the reception of eternal life, eternal well-being, is sinfully anthropocentric.”

    I wonder what Augustine, Calvin, Luther, Edwards, Spurgeon, etc. would say about that.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at Tuesday, June 27, 2006 8:26:00 AM  

  • Jonathan, well presupposing that most if not all in your list believe in a sovereingly imposed regeneration that precedes the giving of faith in Christ... my comment stands on its own merits.

    I wonder what the Traditionalist can say, though... "Believe on Jesus Christ and you will be saved"?

    If it is a reprobate, he can't believe.

    If it is an elect person, he can't believe. He cannot follow the command to believe. He must be regenerated and given the faith as a gift.

    Why preach something that is impossible for any human being to do?

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, June 27, 2006 1:31:00 PM  

  • Better yet,

    why would God decree that the phrasing of the gospel message would place the responsibility of faith in the human being, when He knows all too well that the total population of humandom are not able to believe apart from regeneration imposed and the gift of faith?

    This sounds as if it is the epitome of disingenuousness.

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, June 27, 2006 1:35:00 PM  

  • Amen, Antonio!!!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, June 27, 2006 3:10:00 PM  

  • Hi Antonio,

    Sorry for the lag there :)

    About the "love of Christ" v the love "for Christ"... I agree that Paul seems to be turning from a discussion of himself and his fellow co-workers and their ministry over to God's action on behalf of all savable people.

    So Love of God (God's love), if that is "subjective genetive", than I'll choose that curtain :)

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Tuesday, June 27, 2006 3:47:00 PM  

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