IT’S THE MOTIVATION THAT IS DIFFERENT – Ray E Horton
A sincere but unbelieving friend tagged me with a quote: “The thing that I am most disturbed about when it comes to religiosity is how much of its morality is predicated on some kind of divine reward or punishment…” What do you think of my response?
A believer’s motivation is different
My motivation is a response of love and appreciation for my salvation
“It is the law/works-based religious people for whom ‘morality is predicated on some kind of divine reward or punishment.’ That has not been a concern with me for years after gaining a personal relationship with the living Jesus Christ. I know that He took my punishment upon Himself on the cross.
“The difference is in the motivation. My motivation is not to receive divine reward (although I look forward to it) or avoiding punishment, but a response of love and appreciation for my salvation.
“My morality comes from two sources:
“1) the natural human – my conscience and the good upbringing that I received growing up, something that atheists and anyone else may share, and
“2) the supernatural transformation of the rebirth which engenders a love response. God’s grace, if understood, motivates one to not want to do anything wrong or immoral and to love others unconditionally.
“Sure, like anyone, we can and do miss it. But a believer hates their sin. For a Christian with the understanding that I live out of, there is no condemnation, simply repentance, or purposing to turn back to the Lord’s way, and moving on. Lots of peace and freedom in that.
Many well-intentioned people
“There are many good people of every faith or no faith in this world, but the grace of God through Jesus sure makes it a lot easier (my experience compared to my Before-Christ life). [Note that ‘good’ here means well-intentioned, not to contradict Rom. 3:12, ‘…There is none who does good, no, not one‘].
“That transformation took place for me nearly a half-century ago. It was the highlight of my life and has had lasting impact. From my perspective, the satisfaction of following His ways in His power is in itself great reward.
“Divine reward in this life (answered prayer, etc.) for me is simply the gravy, and in the afterlife (heaven), the wonderful, ongoing dessert for which I confidently look forward. That expectancy is not because I am so good but because of His forgiveness and mercy won for me over 2,000 years ago.
“I believe a faith like mine is available to anyone.”
Someone else commented “I don’t believe it [belief in the afterlife] erases evil deeds.” I responded:
“Legalistic religion cannot erase evil deeds – it is powerless. Only receiving a spiritual rebirth and the forgiveness that comes with it wipes the slate clean. While forgiven, we do still suffer consequences in this life. The motivation and power to change comes from our relationship with the living God through Jesus.
“Even though my soul (mind, will and emotions) must be progressively renewed to the spiritual transformation that has taken place (leading more and more to improved behavior), it is having the confidence that my spirit (my true identity) has already been transformed that provides the impetus to run the race to an expected good conclusion.”