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How Does God Motivate His Children?

Updated: Feb 6, 2022

Does God use shame, fear, and guilt as motivators for those whom He has forgiven and transformed by The Gospel? No. The offering of Jesus on the cross has sealed our forgiveness and His resurrection imparted His life and righteousness to us as believers. The Gospel assures us that God thinks positively toward us and is patient in our reflecting what He has done on the inside spiritually. Let’s look at the motivation God uses to lead His children in a direction that is healthy and profitable for them.

God uses goodness to help us change our minds.

Romans 2:4 “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”

The context of this verse is speaking to those who are relying on their performance of the law to justify them before others. These teachers are judging other people for breaking the very same laws that they break. Just so we are clear, Jesus in Matthew chapter five explains that if you are going to rest in the law then you are going to have to control every thought down to how you look at a woman, or to the extent of never getting angry at anyone without a cause. This is obviously impossible and thus, all are guilty before God.

The point that Paul is making here is that judgment doesn’t lead mankind to change their mind or heart about sin. What takes us by the hand and gently leads us to repentance is God's goodness. Wrath causes fear, and if we were to be truthful, nobody truly loves someone that they are deathly afraid of. That makes us want to run away.

God does not use His wrath to motivate His children. We were saved from wrath through Jesus (Romans 5:9). It is God's goodness that leads us to repentance.

God uses His grace to teach us to say no to sin and to live godly.

Titus 2:11-12 "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;"

I believe it is important that we take careful note of the fact that the law of Moses is mentioned nowhere near this verse. The law exposes sin and increases it (Rom. 5:20). Under grace sin wilts and finds no life. Apart from the law sin is dead (Romans 7:8).

Jesus is the cure for sin and it is His grace that teaches us to say no to ungodliness and yes to walking after our new nature in Christ (Ephesians 4:24). The law of Moses does not teach us that. The law teaches us that we need grace. Grace teaches us to live righteously from the heart.

It is the knowledge of Jesus and His once-for-all sacrifice that has purged us from our sins which leads us to produce fruit in our lives.

2Pe 1:5-9 "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

This scripture, in context, is referring to the fruit that Jesus produces in your life through your understanding and knowledge of His accomplishments in The Gospel. Our diligence to focusing on and resting in Him will naturally bring about the fruit that is listed here. When we lack these characteristics of Christian maturity it is evident that we have let our faith in what Christ has done fade a little. Remember, your sins have been completely washed away! They are not covered by some temporary sacrifice but they are completely removed forever! You are clean! God knows that this motivates His children to do good and keep their eyes on Jesus. These are all things that are impossible to achieve apart from Him. So, let us keep our eyes on the finished work of Jesus Christ and we wont be unfruitful in the life He has imparted to us!!

God has given to us all things pertaining to life and godliness through Jesus and the promises in The New Covenant that He established in the blood of Christ. He also uses these promises to positively motivate His children to live from the acceptance that He has already given us. Grace upon grace.

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