Friday, March 24, 2006

“Self-Motivated”

Another striking contrast between the servants of the worlds religions and the servants of God through Christ is the motivation for which they serve God.

One of the central themes of Christianity (which is also unique to it) is “denying self” (Matthew 16:24). One might say in response to this that many of the worlds religions involve “self denial”; however, what makes Christianity unique is the MOTIVATION (for the self denial).

Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “[8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
[9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

2 Timothy 1:9 states, “[9] Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”

From these two verses it is easy to see that salvation in Christianity cannot be earned with any amount of “good deeds” or “keeping of rules”. One is justified by faith alone in Christ Jesus (John 3:16, 5:24, et al). Now once works are eliminated from the equation for a man to be able to get to heaven and have eternal life, the motivation has completely changed. If I can do nothing to earn my way to heaven, my service to the Lord comes from gratitude and true thankfulness for the work Jesus has done on my behalf.

In contrast, every other religion on the planet has for it’s equation, “faith + works = heaven/eternal life” (even Christians who think that Salvation can be lost have to subscribe to this equation). If one is working to EARN their ticket into heaven their motivation behind their “good works” cannot be entirely pure. An attitude of “self preservation” is involved. This person is not performing their good deeds out of gratitude or thankfulness but are instead are doing these deeds in order to “save their own behind”. While the person “working their way” to heaven may indeed have a sense of thankfulness, this cannot possibly be their motivation entirely. Thus the denial of self in this case is, “denying self to get something for self”. If one “denies self” only to get something for self… then has the denial of self actually occurred? No!

Finally, in true Biblical Christianity denying self is essential and motivated in no way out of self-gratification. Since Jesus has already secured salvation for all who will believe (and by the way repentance is fruit of true faith), these are now free to serve God with a good conscience. When the Christian is laying down his life for his friends, wife, children, church brethren, etc he is doing so because he chooses to do so freely… not because he is trying to “earn” his way to heaven. This makes his motivation PURE and UNDEFILED… and a true, uncontaminated denial of self.

…A good friend of mine wanted to add these comments…

…”many (who believe in Eternal Security like we do) … have the idea that works enhance their righteous standing in God's sight, forgetting the imputed righteousness of Christ, thus making a breeding ground for an economy of legalism and therein exercising a motivation of self-enhancement. This motivation for self denial is not self denial at all, but once again self promotion and pride.”

1 Comments:

Blogger Joe said...

{This motivation for self denial is not self denial at all, but once again self promotion and pride.”}

Dear Lord

Have Mercy!

On me a sinner!

Love, Joe

5:25 AM  

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