“Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1 NIV84)
There is only one way to rightfully teach and understand why we as Christians ought to do good works. All other approaches lead to bad practices and false theology. Notice Paul’s opening words, “Since we have these promises.” We have a God who not only makes promises but also fulfills them. Our good works are always in response to God’s grace. Our good works should be motivated by our gratitude and indebtedness to God for the mercy, love and grace that he continuously showers upon us. Paul ended these verses by saying that we should be perfecting our holiness “out of reverence for God.” Our deep respect and gratitude for what Christ has done for us moves and motivates us to grow the new man or woman in us.
Not sure I’m right on this subject? Let me take you back to the Old Testament and the Ten Commandments. Clearly we see in the Ten Commandments how we ought to live. Clearly, God is telling the people of Israel what it meant to live a God-pleasing life. Question: Have you ever paid attention to the words just before the Ten Commandments? God says to the children of Israel, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (Exodus 20:2). God prefaces the Ten Commandments with words of grace. He is reminding them of the reasons and the motivation for being obedient to His commandments. From the beginning of time, God has always wanted His people to live their lives to His glory, motivated by their love and gratitude for what God has done for them.
May our lives be properly motivated by God’s grace!