Does God reward our good behavior, and punish our bad behavior?
I still find myself, at times, stumbling over that stumbling stone, the grace of Jesus. Why would a Christian say such a thing? A Christian can backslide by abandoning his or her morals, and getting caught up in the world, and the lust of the flesh. A Christian can also backslide by abandoning the righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus, and slipping back into an old testament mentality of rewards and punishment. When I do something I feel particularly good about, often the first thought I have is, God must be pleased with that, and I begin to expect something good to happen. And in turn, if I do something I feel particularly bad about, I think, God must be displeased, and begin to expect something bad to happen. This should not be the mindset of a child of God. There is nothing good we can do to make God love us more, or bad we can do to make him love us less. We love God because he first loved us.
1 John 4: 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.19 We love him, because he first loved us.
God’s love toward us is perfect. We never have to fear him, or be afraid. He loves us because we have accepted Jesus sacrifice for us. It is no longer a reward and punishment relationship. That is the relationship a non repentant person has with God. By non repentant, I mean a person who has not repented of their belief that, good works can save a soul. When we come to fully rest in the perfect love God has for us, we begin to walk as he walked. No longer out of a fearful heart, that expects rewards and punishment, but out of a joyful heart, that always expects good, and in return wants to do good, and share with others.
Hebrews 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
This is the Good News of the New Covenant. We need to be set free from the old covenant mentality of rewards and punishment. All the punishment was laid upon Jesus at the cross. When we sin, we have already been forgiven. When we do good, we have already been rewarded! God is not in heaven testing us, to see if we are good enough to be rewarded, with either physical blessings now, or eternal blessings in the future.
1 Corinthians 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are your’s;22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your’s;23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.
All things good are ours now! We do not have to earn them, in fact they cannot be earned. This is that stumbling stone, that the world and even at times Christians, stumble over.
1Peter 2: 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
Christ has earned all blessings for us. This is what makes Christianity different from all the other religions of the world. It is not based on our performance. It is a Gospel of the love God has for all mankind. A perfect love. God is offended when we disregard, or take lightly, all he has given us, and all he has done for us. Lets walk in that perfect love. This is the light that will shine into a world of darkness, a world that bases everything upon an individuals performance.
Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?32 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?
- Posted in: God and Punishment.
- Tagged: Anger, Angry, Bible, Christ, Christian, Christianity, good news, gospel, Jesus, Lord, new covenant, old testament, punishment, Religion, rewards, righteous, stumbbling stone, works
This is a great website and it helps open the eyes of people and following up with scripture is the best. Thank you God Bless you always have a great day :).
Thanks William for your kind and encouraging comments.
I love how you are open to talk about your stumblings and thought processes that are not from God. I get a lot from reading your truths about how God sees us with grace filled eyes and not works to get Him to bless me. Awesome, thanks.
Hi Tom, I am so happy to hear you find some of my articles helpful. Thanks for your uplifting and encouraging comments.
I believe one of the factors that contribute to many Christians (and nonbelievers) having a fear of God “punishing” someone may come from our experiences from childhood, as well as a flawed view of Old Testament prophecy. Remember the times you went to school and feared getting in trouble because of a mistake you made. For example, if you are failing a class, and you fear that your parents will yell at you and ground you for two weeks, the same adrenaline or stigma affects how you view God’s discipline. Often times, when encountering tribulations in life, I sense moments where God (and others) would offer a critique on how can improve the way I live my life as a person, and as a Christian. Many times, we associate trials with punishment and judgement. Just as we would view a spanking as a mechanism for causing pain, it’s the same thing with trials, although most of the time, they are teachable moments to take with us as we move forward. Yes, God doesn’t tolerate sin. However, our gravest sins can be used as building blocks in our faith, and how we perceive the world around us. The Christian journey is like a training program, where you gradually get better you move forward. Overcoming sin takes a lot of practice. Because we are saved by the blood of Jesus, God is rewarding those who are diligent in walking in the light.
I agree, many of our concepts of reward and punishment do go back to our childhood experiences. Thanks for your comments!
You are welcome! Hey, guess what? Remember how i have been commenting on your blog posts, and the posts of other Christian blogs? I just completed my first blog post on Biblical Christianity, it’s a platerform where writers provide deep commentaries on Scripture in relation to faith and our culture. It’s a commentary from Revelations 2:9. Here is the link!
I will check it out for sure, Thanks!