Christians and non-Christians often refer to the Ten Commandments. We know there are ways that God wants us to live, and there are things we do that He doesn’t want us to do.
There is an important distinction here that we don’t talk about enough in church. It’s found in this question: Why do we do the good we do?
I’m going to suggest that most of us still do good things for the wrong reasons. Most of us believe the more good we do, the more God will be pleased with us. We don’t often think about it this way, but we believe we need to earn God’s approval.
Now, this doesn’t mean God wants us to go and do whatever we want. However, it is important for us to hear that we can’t earn God’s approval.
Other times we may find ourselves doing good with the idea of paying God back. This way of thinking is most revealed when people think to themselves, “I hope I’ve done enough good,” hoping that the good outweighs the bad they’ve done in their life.
Again, we find ourselves believing we can earn God’s approval.
So why would we do good? Why do we seek to follow Jesus?
I like what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 6:
So what are we going to say? Should we continue sinning so grace will multiply? 2 Absolutely not! All of us died to sin. How can we still live in it? 3 Or don’t you know that all who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore, we were buried together with him through baptism into his death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too can walk in newness of life.
Do you hear Paul’s answer to the question of why we do good? Paul is saying that it only makes sense for us to do good, to live in a way to please God because that is who you are in Christ! He says those in Christ are made new.
God is pleased with you! Why? It isn’t because of what you have done or haven’t done. Rather it is all about the work of Jesus Christ. When we trust our lives in His work, we are made new, transformed to love as Jesus loves.
As Christians, we do not do the good we do because we have to earn God’s approval. That would put the focus back on us. No, we do the good we do because we believe what Jesus says is true!
We are made new, and to act any other way does not make sense!