[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)

Friday, December 22, 2006

What is God's Goal for Us?

by Guest Blogger: David Wyatt

Is God's goal for us to get us to Heaven, or to make us like Christ?

The answer reveals what 1 John, James, and probably 95% of [what] the NT is all about.

The Commitment Salvationist [Lordship Salvationist] seems to think the answer is: A) To get us to Heaven.

The reason I say that is because the CS (Commitment Salvationist) evidently believes this since they always condition assurance of salvation (though [their apprehension of it can] never [be] 100% [IOW, certain]) on the old "tests of life" model for interpreting 1 John. If God's goal was only to get us to Heaven, then CS would be correct, and we all ought to just get to the fearful work of making absolutely, completely, totally sure that we have really, truly, undoubtedly committed it all to Christ so as to have the highest degree of assurance possible here on earth.

BUT, if God's goal is to make us like Christ, then salvation is simple & free because Christ paid it all! Therefore, we must get to the holy work of submitting to Christ out of a heart of love for His grace & let Him conform us to His image through a working faith, such as James teaches.

----------
I like this alot. Thank you David!

The doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints, espoused by LS, has a practical result of causing one to work hard in order to be assured that one is among the elect, therefore on the way to heaven.

Free Grace theology encourages one to endeavor for the purpose of developing intimacy with Christ that will transect into eternity. All Christians will be conformed to the image of Christ in eternity. For some (those who haven't whole-heartedly pursued sanctification) this event will be more painful than for others.

39 Comments:

  • This observation is exactly right!

    ...As if all of God's interest ought to revolve around who will be in Heaven. Yes--no one is compatible with God and His immense holiness, but once He has in love become sin itself in order to redeem sinners, why shouldn't his overriding concern be with totally sincere spiritual growth rather than each heavenly entrance?

    Not sure I explained that right, but great post!

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Friday, December 22, 2006 7:45:00 PM  

  • Hi Antonio and Jodie. The following is from my most recent post...

    Christ-Likeness: Growing from Glory to Glory

    In the Parable of the sower, as recorded in Mark 4, we see that what is sowed is the word; yes that same "implanted word" that we are to receive with meekness in James 1:21. As we see in Mark 4:8 the seed that fell on good ground yielded a crop that sprang up, some 30, some 60, some 100.

    Question: what is that which is yielded in this crop? I believe it to be the fruit of the Spirit, mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. In short the crop is Christ-likeness in varying degrees from individual Christians. Where FGT and I disagree is what salvation is all about. From what I have observed FGT seems to believe that Justification is the be-all and end-all. I believe it only holds to part of the over all big picture provided in the word.

    Jesus said "This cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is shed for you". If we look at 2 Cor. 3:3-18 we get some insight into this new Covenant...

    1)Christians are epistles of Christ to the world. vs.3

    2) The Spirit of God is the writer, and our hearts are what He writes on. vs.3

    3) Paul was a minister of that new covenant, that one by which the Spirit gives life. vs 6

    .4) the ministry of the Spirit is more glorious than the old covenant. vs. 8.

    5) the new covenant is called "the ministry of Righteousness" in verse 9.

    6)Entrance into that new covenant means a veil is taken away from our eyes in Christ. vs.14-16.

    7)Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. vs.17.

    And now the clincher: as we look with unveiled faces at the Lord, through His word, we are transformed into the image of Christ by the Holy Spirit... Sanctification, Christlikeness.2 Cor.3:18.

    I believe that the Holy Spirit applies the whole of the new covenant to every believer in Christ. Part of what Christ accomplished on the cross was our being set free from slavery to sin in order to be slaves of Christ, no middle ground. See Romans 6:18, also Acts 3:26. We are now in Christ's kingdom,under His rule in our lives, having been put there by God the Father. Col.1:13-14. See also 1 Peter 1:2. We are now temples of the Holy Spirit and evidences of His presence in the Christian life will show. Over time we grow from glory to glory, due to the Spirit's ministry to us through His Word. The seed (the word, attended by God the Holy Spirit, for they are always in concert) once planted begins to grow, grow towards its intended end, Christlikeness. Romans 8:29.

    If we look at Luke's rendering of the sermon on the mount, 6:40, we see Jesus say that a perfectly trained disciple will be like his teacher. May I suggest that here we see the whole intent of Christ for His people? Look at the great commission, Matt.28:18-20...We are to:"make disciples, baptizing them, teaching them to observe all that Christ has commanded. Look at Eph. 2:1-22. The progression begins with our having been quickened, having once been dead in tresspases and sins, having walked according to the course of this world, walking according the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience, and were by nature children of wrath. Then God makes us alive with His Son (regeneration)and enables us to believe. We then become His workmanship (poema, His work of art)as He causes us to walk in good works. He causes Jew and Gentile to be one new man in Christ. We now have access by the Spirit to the Father. We are now a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. I believe this to be the very appex of redemptive history. It is the glorious work of God on once dead sinners comparable to the great scene in Ezekiel 37, the valley of dry bones. God's Spirit brings life where there was none, that life being Christ-likeness, coming to full fruition when we see Him in the air. 1 John 3:2.

    I thank you for your time. You are both fine writers.

    Warmly,
    Mark Pierson

    By Blogger bluecollar, at Friday, December 22, 2006 8:22:00 PM  

  • Also, if I may, I would like to provide a link to a paper that I wrote in April, 2000...

    http://mdpmusings.blogspot.com/2006/04/abba-father-mark-d-pierson.html#links

    Respectfully,
    Mark

    By Blogger bluecollar, at Friday, December 22, 2006 8:30:00 PM  

  • David,
    You said.... Free Grace theology encourages one to endeavor for the purpose of developing intimacy with Christ that will transect into eternity.

    In a comment on his July 15 post on this blog UOG contributor Matthew said.....
    Chris, I serve Christ:
    1. Out of obediance.
    2. Out of gratitude.
    3. To gain heavenly rewards, including the right to participate in Christ's heavenly government.
    4. To avoid suffering chastening.


    Do you see Free grace theology encouraging these reasons of Matthew especially #3 which is an emphasis on self?

    W.H.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Friday, December 22, 2006 8:58:00 PM  

  • Is this the David Wyatt with BBN?

    Good points BTW, I have to agree that holiness and being conformed to the image of Christ are really the goals and express purpose of the scriptures.

    By Blogger Jim, at Friday, December 22, 2006 10:33:00 PM  

  • Excellent point, David Wyatt.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, December 23, 2006 2:26:00 AM  

  • Jazzycat, is God never glorified when we seek do things that benefit ourselves?

    Is it selfish to eat a piece of bread to satisfy one's hunger?

    Is it wrong to marry with the intention of making oneself happy?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, December 23, 2006 2:29:00 AM  

  • 1st, I'd like to thank bro. Antonio for publishing my thoughts on this blog. I am genuinely honored & humbled. Also, I must say that I do not believe desiring rewards from Christ is self-honoring, but is Christ-honoring. The reason I say this is because He has promised reward to all who serve Him faithfully from a heart of gratitude for Him. (Lk.19:11-27, 1 Co.3:11-15) If we were simply wanting to make a name for ourselves, this would be self-serving, but since Christ has promised reward, we are only honoring Him by taking Him at His Word. Like Peter walking on the water to Christ was not wrong because he was responding to Christ's Word. Also, Ahaz rejecting the command of God to ask a sign from Him was wrong, since it was a comand from God to build Ahaz' faith. Anyway, thanks again bro. Antonio. This is an excellent blog site. Forgive my ramblings. God Bless & Merry CHRISTmas.

    By Anonymous David Wyatt, at Saturday, December 23, 2006 7:58:00 AM  

  • Matthew,
    Just as a child can obey and do the will of his father out of a motive of love rather than personal gain (even though rewards will result), a Christian can obey his heavenly Father out of love rather than a motive of personal gain. To me it is the motive that matters. The Bible in many places seems to frown on the motive of selfish gain. James 4:3 speaks of the wrong motive of self in praying. There are many such as:

    Phili 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

    DO NOTHING covers a lot ground.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Saturday, December 23, 2006 8:35:00 AM  

  • Jazzycat, where does the Bible identify desire for heavenly rewards as selfish ambition? Is this a Biblical idea or just your own opinion?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, December 23, 2006 9:35:00 AM  

  • Mark,

    Thanks for posting that well-articulated comment.

    In showing that you personally don't see getting into Heaven as the main goal of God, however, you still suggest it is more primary than we do when you say the following about Free Grace Theology (FGT, and btw that's a better abreviation than my FG):

    From what I have observed FGT seems to believe that Justification is the be-all and end-all. I believe it only holds to part of the over all big picture provided in the word.

    This comment suggests you filter things through a Heaven/Hell filter, because, on the contrary, this is simply not our emphasis. Instead our emphasis is that the NT teaches that confidence in the Lord's promises regarding eternal life are essential for growing in grace. We simply do not treat justification as an end in itself.

    It may be hard for you to see this because of two reasons: your tendency to not value distinctions between our brand of Dispensationalism and D. more broadly. As a Dispensationalist, I would argue that our tradition broadly understood has put too much emphasis on getting into Heaven, as if that was an end in itself. But when Free Grace writers try to honor both the wrath and the mercy extended to those God loves, you seem to view that as strategic rather than authentic.

    The other reason is that because of your emphasis on redemption from Hell as a motivator you can't quite credit a system that sees God's accountability working in a different way--through His wrath in our lives on earth and in rewards in the afterlife. Having discounted much of our perspective, you fault us for a distorted version of what is left over!! Our treating justification as foundational simply does not mean it is the end-goal.

    (Consider our treatment of the darkness outside.)

    We don't see God's main goal as the redemption of the elect and perhaps NCT doesn't either, but I'm foggy on your perspective on this.

    I'll look at the article! :)

    I hope that's helpful...

    Warmly in Christ,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, December 23, 2006 11:22:00 AM  

  • Matthew,
    Being obedient with a motive of in your words, "To gain heavenly rewards, including the right to participate in Christ's heavenly government.", seems to fit Philippians 2:3 pretty well if you ask me.

    A quick word search on words such as ambition, selfish, self, etc. will give you some interesting verses.

    There's nothing wrong with wanting to hear, "well done my good and faithful servant." I just think the motive ought to be #2 on your list and not what am I going to get out of it.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Saturday, December 23, 2006 12:15:00 PM  

  • Jodie - Despite our differences I am honored that you would take the time to read that article.

    I have been meditating on God's plan to conform us into His Son's image for a good many years now. I have been pondering the possibility that this action of His is actually an out-working of the Inner Trinitarian relationship, between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Son being the Subject, The Father is the Artist, and God the Holy Spirit is the One Who is utilized as a paint brush, drawing the picture of Christ on the canvas of the lives once enslaved by sin.

    My above mentioned meditations are the reason that I can not totally forsake supra-lapsarianism.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at Saturday, December 23, 2006 12:42:00 PM  

  • Jazzycat, the problem with attempting to de-emphasise rewards as a motivation for service is that they are such a prominent theme in the New Testament. The motivation of acheiving rewards and a position of privilege in the kingdom appears to be one of the main, if not the main incentive for service.

    This is not selfish ambition because it is God's purpose to call His people to that position of privilege.

    The Church is called to be an heavenly aristocracy which will share in Christ's government. However, we must prove ourselves to be worthy of such a position by our service to our Lord in this current dispensation.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, December 23, 2006 1:46:00 PM  

  • Thanks for your comments, Mark.

    Matthew, I think those comments were very well articulated.

    To you guys and Jazzy, David and Jim...

    Merry Christmas!

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, December 23, 2006 7:41:00 PM  

  • would say that God's first and foremost goal -- IS to get us to be sure we are going to Heaven.. by His Grace and our faith -- not with any part of our works.

    David writes,
    "The Commitment Salvationist [Lordship Salvationist] seems to think the answer is: A) To get us to Heaven."

    First -- without a belief/trust in Jesus Christ alone as the only Savior, there can never be any hope (guarantee) of Heaven.

    The CS proponents I have read and those with whom I have talked seem to think their goal is to teach an exemplary life -- which, in their view, is supposed to accomplish the "maybe someday" by good works "I hope, I hope, I hope" for Heaven. No assurance!

    Without the unbeliever first placing his faith or trust in Jesus Christ alone for his salvation, God can never make him like Christ. Christ is absolutely Righteous and the unregenerate man can struggle, try, climb and scratch his way -- but will never "make himself like Christ."

    When a person trusts in Christ alone for salvation, he is then instructed to follow God's Word into a life of service... Again, David rightly says , "Therefore, we must get to the holy work of submitting to Christ out of a heart of love for His grace & let Him conform us to His image through a working faith, such as James teaches."

    Amen!! Can we imagine Jesus Christ being unconcerned for the lost, the unsaved? NEVER! Unless we share with the lost, God's salvation in Jesus Christ, the church of true believers will be slow to increase. More believers are the fruits of a believer.

    Just think, if every true believer would share Christ with one lost person a day and try to lead them to Christ -- The Great Commission would roar across the world.

    About working for rewards.
    Heaven, Eternal Life is not a reward but God's GIFT for trusting Christ as Savior. Rewards are called Crowns for our service to Him. When we realize that we will cast our crowns at the feet of our Savior, we see that rewards are there only to give back to our Savior as our worship of Him.
    Revelation 4:10
    "The four and twenty elders [representative of every believer] fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,"

    I don't work for rewards, I work for my Savior Jesus Christ. Rewards are an added blessing. The greatest blessing is to see others trust Christ as their personal Savior.

    ExP(Jack)

    By Anonymous ExPreacherMan, at Sunday, December 24, 2006 12:16:00 PM  

  • Beautifully said, bro. Jack!

    By Anonymous David Wyatt, at Sunday, December 24, 2006 12:59:00 PM  

  • Merry Christmas!

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at Monday, December 25, 2006 3:48:00 AM  

  • What I am about to say may not set well with some.

    If a person is so afraid that rewards might motivate themselves or someone else to serve Christ, then they probably have a bit of self-righteousness they need to deal with.

    My 2 cents

    By Blogger Kris, at Thursday, December 28, 2006 9:43:00 AM  

  • Kris,

    excellent point!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, December 28, 2006 1:55:00 PM  

  • Kris,
    Your bottom line:
    (1) Service to Christ motivated by a selfish desire for rewards in heaven and a selfish desire to rule is good.
    (2) Service to Christ motivated out of love and obedience shows that a person is probably doing works salvation and also has a problem with self-righteousness.

    And Jesus said, blessed are those that hunger and thirst for rewards for theirs will be to rule in heaven...... Sure he did!

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Friday, December 29, 2006 6:12:00 AM  

  • Interesting discussion.

    One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"

    "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these, well, except the Great Commision, but I'll cover that another time."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Friday, December 29, 2006 1:00:00 PM  

  • doh! make that "Commission".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Friday, December 29, 2006 1:04:00 PM  

  • Jazzycat, where in the Bible is there any implication that desire for heavenly rewards is selfish?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, December 29, 2006 2:59:00 PM  

  • Matthew,
    You have asked this already and I have answered already in this thread. What are your Scripture references that mention desire for heavenly rewards as a proper "motive" for doing Christian service?

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Friday, December 29, 2006 9:23:00 PM  

  • Matthew 10
    39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

    40 ¶ He that receiveth you receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

    41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.

    42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.



    Colossians 3
    23 and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

    24 knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.


    2 John
    8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

    Matthew 5
    3 ¶ Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    4 ¶ Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

    5 ¶ Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

    6 ¶ Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Is. 55.1, 2

    7 ¶ Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

    8 ¶ Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

    9 ¶ Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

    10 ¶ Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    11 ¶ Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

    12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.



    1 Corinthians 3
    8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.

    9 For we are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.

    10 ¶ According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

    11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

    12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

    13 every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

    14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

    15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.



    Matthew 6
    1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

    2 ¶ Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

    4 that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.



    1 Corinthians 9
    24 ¶ Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

    25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.


    1 Peter 5
    1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

    2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

    3 neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

    4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

    2 Timothy 4
    7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

    8 henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

    James 1
    12 ¶ Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

    Revelation 2
    7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

    17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

    26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

    27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

    28 And I will give him the morning star.

    Revelation 3
    4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

    5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels

    11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

    12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

    21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, December 30, 2006 6:26:00 AM  

  • Matthew,
    I appreciate your verses, but as I skimmed them quickly, I did not see a single one that mentioned that a proper motive for performing Christian service was one of selfish gain.

    Please point me to one that says the reason (motive) for doing Christian service should be to receive rewards (payment for service). Christian service out of love of Christ and obedience is one thing, but for one to do it solely for personal payment is quite another. Show me the verse that exhorts us to perform service for the specific motive of getting something for our work.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Saturday, December 30, 2006 8:56:00 PM  

  • Jazzycat, I am afraid I am baffled as to how you can read those verses and not see the motivation of striving for rewards.

    1 Corinthians 9
    24 ¶ Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

    25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

    Paul here compares Christian service to athletics. The athlete strives to win corruptible crowns, the Christian should strive to obtain an incorruptible crown.

    What else do you think it means?

    Matthew 6
    3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

    4 that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

    Here our Lord teaches that we should give in secret in order that we may be rewarded by the Father.

    Or have I completely misunderstood this verse?

    I find it hard to see how such verses and many others can possibly mean anything else.

    Does anybody else who disagrees with me want to help me out and explain what I am missing?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, December 31, 2006 8:25:00 AM  

  • Matthew,
    Perhaps a key to understanding 1 Cor. 9:24 is verse 23 where Paul says, And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. Here Paul clearly gives a motive and that motive is he's doing it for the sake of the gospel and that he may be partakers of the 'gospel' with them. Does he mean eternal life? That is the good news of the gospel.

    I don't know Matthew, it just seems that gratitude, love, and obedience seems to be the Biblical motives for Christian service as well as pleasing God rather than what's in it for me.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Sunday, December 31, 2006 1:43:00 PM  

  • Is the Gospel limited simply to eternal life?

    I would argue that the good news also includes God's purpose of bringing his new heavenly humnaity in the Church into a position of privilege as governors of the new creation. That His people can be co-heirs with Christ.

    Hence, rewards are a part of the Gospel.

    "I don't know Matthew, it just seems that gratitude, love, and obedience seems to be the Biblical motives for Christian service as well as pleasing God rather than what's in it for me."

    You do not seem to have made any Biblical argument for this view.

    I appreciate that I did not offer commentary on the verses I posted, with the exception of those two. However, it seems to me that there is a vast body of Scriptural data on the importance of rewards as a motivation. It seems hard to escape the conclusion that you are irrationally biased against this idea. Can you not make the case for your view?

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, December 31, 2006 2:50:00 PM  

  • Matthew says..."Is the Gospel limited simply to eternal life?"

    -----------
    No, and certainly no Calvinist would claim such things.
    -----------

    "I would argue that the good news also includes God's purpose of bringing his new heavenly humnaity in the Church into a position of privilege as governors of the new creation. That His people can be co-heirs with Christ."
    -------------
    Amen. And also as a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that proclaim His praises for having called us out of darkness into His marvelous light, here and now. He has delivered us from power of darkness and conveyed us into His Son's kingdom, again, here and now.
    ------------

    "Hence, rewards are a part of the Gospel."
    ----------
    Amen. But you have not proven that they are the driving force for service. The Bible certainly does teach rewards, but it seems from the verses that you cite that they can be mentioned here as incidental, as an opportunity to teach that such awards do exist. But, it is a fair question to ask whether they were held up as the sole motivational source. I believe a missing ingredient here is Love to Christ, and that being the motivation. Of couse I wonder at this point if the emphasis on rewards is the logical result of a system that teaches that a believer may not necessarily love Christ; whereas the other system teaches a new creation with new desires from a new heart, desires to please God, for love's sake, with rewards as incidental. If I buy flowers for my wife, I do so because it pleases her, not for any reward. I just want to please her, period. And that is what I see of Paul's attitude towards Christ in Phillipians 3:7-21.
    ---------

    "I don't know Matthew, it just seems that gratitude, love, and obedience seems to be the Biblical motives for Christian service as well as pleasing God rather than what's in it for me."

    You do not seem to hav:e made any Biblical argument for this view.

    I appreciate that I did not offer commentary on the verses I posted, with the exception of those two. However, it seems to me that there is a vast body of Scriptural data on the importance of rewards as a motivation."
    ------------
    I disagree. I have never seen anyone out of GES that would teach anything other than that rewards are incidental. Pleasing Christ is primary, just for the sake of pleasing Him. Again, this emphasis on rewards being motivational is peculiar to the GES.
    ---------

    "It seems hard to escape the conclusion that you are irrationally biased against this idea. Can you not make the case for your view?"
    ---------

    The very core of Paul's heart is Phil. 3:10-14. I see NOTHING but love to Christ as his driving force here. Matthew, I have to wonder just how much your eschatology drives you theology; but that statement just opened the door to go down yet another rabbit trail - sorry.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at Sunday, December 31, 2006 5:40:00 PM  

  • Mark
    Thanks for the comment.

    Love of God is simply obediance (1 John 5:3). It is not in itself a motivation.

    We must not confuse love with emotional affection.

    We love God because of what He has done for us and what He will do for us. I think this can be seen very clearly in Philippians 3:10-14.

    The scriptures are echatologically focused. The Kingdom of God is central to understanding the Word. Hence, the centrality of eschatological motives to Christian service.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, January 01, 2007 4:04:00 AM  

  • Matthew,
    John 14:15 If you love me, you will obey what I command.

    It seems to me the meaning here is that sincere love will motivate a believer to obey. If you love me, this will motivate you to obey. How can it be any plainer? Love causes obedience.

    The logical and Biblical consequence of this is no love, no obedience, no salvation. The view that one can take hold of salvation with no love or obedience is a flawed unbiblical concept that has been debated before........

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Monday, January 01, 2007 6:49:00 AM  

  • Jazzycat, if our salvation depended upon our love for Christ we would all be lost.

    Love and obediance are inseperable. They are two sides of the same coin.

    But love in itself is not a motivation. Why not?

    Because one needs a motivation to love (to keep our Lord's commandments).

    I cannot decide to love a person I have never met without some motivation. Either I must get a reward for doing so or else I must fear some loss if I do not.

    Likewise, we love God because of what He has done for us and what He will do for us if we love Him.

    Our desire to win His approval and to gain a place in His kingdom should motivate us to love Him (keep His commandments).

    You would not love God if He had done nothing for you. You love Him because He has redeemed you. But you should also love Him because He offers you a place of glory and privilege.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, January 01, 2007 11:37:00 AM  

  • Jazzycat, I think you missed my point. I don't think I nor anyone else has said in these comments that rewards are the "only" motivation for serving Christ. However your comments seem to reflect this view on us.

    I really do think it pleases God for us believe Him when He says He will reward us. So I think striving to get these rewards is pleasing to Him.

    Peter in Matthew 19:27 told Jesus that "we have left everything and followed you; what then will there be for us"

    Now some would say Peter is just being selfish, he shouldn't have thought about what he left behind, he should just be thankful and serve Christ out of love, anything else is selfish of him.

    But Jesus didn't seem to mind! He told Peter what they would be getting as a "reward" in verses 28 and 29. Jesus didn't tell Peter the only motivation for leaving everything should be love for Me.

    Jesus also said somewhere that unless we receive the kingdom of God like a child we can't enter it.

    Doesn't a child get excited and motivated to do something when he sees what reward there may be for him. Doing the dishes in anticipation of the ice cream bar he was promised for doing them. This doesn't mean the child only loves his parent if he gets an ice cream.

    Doesn't it please a father or mother when they tell their child they will give them this or that if they do this or that for them? I tell you it pleases me when I see the smile on my 10 year old daughter in anticipation of getting something from daddy. I think God feels this way to.

    Paul anticpated his reward from God for finishing his race. Anyway think about these things and see if God's grace is even more than any of us can imagine or hope for.

    By Blogger Kris, at Tuesday, January 02, 2007 4:03:00 PM  

  • Kris,
    Just curious, who is the us you refer to in your first paragraph?

    You said.... I really do think it pleases God for us believe Him when He says He will reward us. So I think striving to get these rewards is pleasing to Him.

    Do you also believe that striving to please God out of a motive of love and obedience is pleasing to God?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, January 03, 2007 5:50:00 AM  

  • Jazzycat, striving to please God is love itself, not the motive for it.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, January 03, 2007 8:06:00 AM  

  • Matthew said it well, Jazzycat. Thats my answer also to your question.

    I won't argue anymore about this subject. Anymore in my heart would be not out of love to show the grace of God.

    And I probably will lose rewards. :)

    By Blogger Kris, at Thursday, January 04, 2007 7:37:00 AM  

  • Completely wrong. LS believes that God's goal for us is that we glorify Him.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, January 06, 2007 8:38:00 AM  

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