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Obedience to Avoid Punishment is Not True Obedience — 12 Comments

  1. The word obey has come to mean doing something to earn a reward or to avoid punishment. Of doing irrespective of agreeing or even understanding the instruction.

    That is why, I believe, the LORD frequently says, I saved you, love me and walk in the Way I lead you because I know what is best for you.

    Jesus came to save us from sin, to save us from living in a way that is harmful to us and others.

    Jesus wants us to obey His commands because He has given us a new heart that wants only good, He gives us divine power so we may partake of His Divine Nature.

  2. William, I see a corollary to the statement that obedience to avoid punishment is not obedience at all. The corollary is this:
    Obedience to gain a reward is no obedience at all.

    Doing what God requires in order to gain heaven does not make us fit for heaven. Doing something to get something in return is essentially a transaction of "buying" something. In the spiritual realm it is the essence of legalism: I do this, and God owes me that.

    Dare I say that a focus on personal perfection falls into this category? I do my best to become perfect (by the grace of God, of course) so that I may be ready for translation when the Lord comes. That is, in essence a transaction. It is a focus on self to gain a reward.

    Jesus set a different example. He poured out His life in self-forgetful love. He lived a perfect life by focusing on the needs of others, not His own perfection.

    None of us will ever become "perfect" by focusing on becoming perfect. The only way to be "perfect" is to be covered by His righteousness, while we are led by the Spirit to live a life of self-renouncing love. And God is the one who decides who is "perfect," not we.

    • What a great insightful comment. I always enjoy reading your thoughts about some of the complex issues in our lessons. keep them coming!

  3. True obedience comes from a sincere desire to be in harmony with God's will and not from a desire to avoid or reap the consequences (punishment or reward)

  4. Very interesting point of view. The statement causes me to question why am I following Christ? To earn a place in heaven or to avoid spending eternity without Him? I would have to say both. My deepest desire is to spend eternity with Jesus. The one who has cared for my all of my life. I can not imagine lbeing separated from Him. I pray that God will help me to draw closer to Him each day and to us me in His service. I really love the Lord.

    • we all need to remember to keep His laws and bind them on our fingers and our necks, study, study, pray without ceasing.
      God is always good...........
      I keep each of you in prayer and ask the same for me.

  5. obedience that comes out of love for God(our creator and redeemer),is far more better because it is driven by faith. one can not follow every instruction or guidance from a person unless you have full faith in him or her.without faith we can not please God.

  6. if our obedience is motivated by the reward then we miss the mark. let us look at christ who loved us when we were still siners.let our obedience be motivated by agape

  7. One question that woke me up one day was do you think God would still be God even if there was no heaven ? Wow that got me thinking deep , and it actually showed me that i loved heaven more than Christ , i actually wanted th benefits thats why i worshiped Him , so i have been pfiviledged to get such a challenge , i hope u get it too .

  8. Would we obey even if there was no reward or punishment? I believe that the Torah is God's instructions for living in harmonious community with our neighbors and if followed will create a sort of heaven here that is worth striving for.

  9. Matthew 6:33 we must obey to seek God's kingdom. This means that we have the commandments on the tablets of our hearts or live by his words. In this case we want have any threat of punishment to avoid

  10. God Himself motivated people to obedience in part by warning against the consequence of disobedience. Examples range from the garden of Eden, "in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (Gen. 2:17), to the nation of Israel, "If you do not obey ..., all these curses will come upon you and overtake you" (Deut. 28:15). This continued in the preaching of John the baptizer in Matthew 3, warning against "the wrath to come" and that the Lord would "burn up the chaff." (Matthew 3:7, 12). We are complex creatures. God appeals to us through multiple motivations, as a father does with a child.


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