Why Should We Be Good?:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2).
Over the last few days, we have been looking at the scandalous love of Jesus, and talking about God’s amazing grace. But if it is true, as we have been studying, that God’s grace is undeserved favour, and that there’s nothing we can do to make God love us more or less; if it is true that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus; if it is true that God will never leave us nor forsake us, and that when we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, then we are left with a problematic question: Why should we be good? If God is good and loving and forgiving, then why should we bother living right? Why should be bother living in obedience to God’s Word? Why should we try? These are good questions, and if you were thinking them, you were not the first one! Look at what the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church at Rome:
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” (Romans 6:1). Because God’s love is not based on our good works—it is by grace, His undeserved favour—then why should be we good? Shouldn’t we continue to live in sin, so that God’s grace can abound in our lives? “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:2). The question is more fully answered in our key Scripture in Romans 12:1-2.
The reason we should be good, the reason we should present our bodies as living sacrifices, and be not conformed to this world, is in view of the mercies of God. What does that mean? Let’s consider the New Living Translation of this Scripture and see if it sheds some light on it for us. “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?” (Romans 12:1). Ah! Here is the answer to our question: Why should we be good? When we think of what God has done for us—when we realize that He paid the price for our salvation and forgiveness of sins by sending His Son Jesus to die on the Cross for us—that is what should motivate us to be good. We do good works—not in order to try to get God to save us or love us more—but as a way of saying thank you for the fact that He has already loved and saved us. This story, told by Charles Spurgeon, best illustrates why we as Christians should be good…
The case reminds me of the story of half-a-dozen boys who had severe fathers, accustomed to flog them within an inch of their lives. Another boy with them was tenderly beloved by his parents, and known to do so. These young men met together to hold a council of war about robbing an orchard. They were all anxious to get about it except the favoured youth, who did not enjoy the proposal. One of them cried out, “You need not be afraid: if our fathers catch us at this work, we shall be half-killed, but your father won’t lay a hand upon you.” The boy answered, “And do you think because my father is kind to me, that therefore I will do wrong and grieve him? I will do nothing of the sort to my dear father. He is so good to me that I cannot vex him.”
Why should we be good? Because God has been so good to us…
Pastor Chris Jordan