Please God or suffer the consequences

My wife is coming back today from a mission trip to Costa Rica. Knowing that she’s coming back, I tried to do a bit of straightening up around the house. I’m laundering not only my clothes but the sheets and towels as well. And I’ve got a brisket in the crock pot, so she won’t have to worry about cooking for a couple of days.

I do all of that, of course, because I’m afraid she’ll divorce me if I don’t. That’s the only reason people in a loving relationship think about pleasing the other, right? When she gets home, she’ll take care of many of the chores around the house, knowing that I’ll toss her out on the street if she doesn’t.

Hopefully by now you realize that I write in jest. Yet this reflects the way many talk about our relationship with God. Those who believe in salvation by works often say that if you take out that element of fear of condemnation, people won’t want to do good things. Some who are assured of their salvation will mock any attempts to discuss what is pleasing to God, saying that the only thing that matters is that we have eternal life.

For many, that’s the bottom line: am I going to an eternal reward or eternal punishment?

Just as the relationship I described in the first two paragraphs is far from healthy, so such an attitude toward God is sick. Back in January, I wrote:

Neither do I believe in a mere transactional relationship with God. That is, I think that my relationship with God isn’t just about getting what I want from Him (in this case, salvation). In a relationship of love, you seek to please the other, not because of what you might get by doing so, but because you love the other.

And I fully agree with myself. :-)

I seek to know God’s will, to know what pleases Him, not because I’m afraid He’ll toss me in the lake of fire when this life is over. I do it because I love Him and want to do what He wants. I want to be like Him, more so every day.

Am I misguided in this view?

8 thoughts on “Please God or suffer the consequences

  1. God is also holy, righteous, and angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:1 1). He is fierce in His indignation against sin (cf. Ps 78:49; Isa 13:9-13; Zeph 3:8). Fear of Him is the very essence of true wisdom (Job 28:28;’Ps II 1: 10; Prov 1:7; 9: 10; 15:33). And “the terror of the Lord” is even a motive for our evangelism (2 Cor 5:1 1). “Our God is a ‘consuming fire”6 (Heb 12:29; cf. Dent 4:24), and “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”,(Heb 10:31).

    God is not your wife, nor her husband.

  2. Laymond,

    The relationship between God and His people is often described as that of a marriage relationship. I bet even in some of the parts of the Bible that you would let me read.

    And none of what you wrote in any way contradicts anything in the post. Despite your attempt. :-)

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  3. Well Tim, this is not one of them.
    Hbr 8:10 For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
    This is not saying we are equal participates here, to me it says I am God,(and you will know it) and you will worship me.
    When we start to compare God to us we are close to, if not involved in the “open Theism” that has become prevalent today. We need to compare our self to God and try to live up to his standard. No we won’t make it but we can keep trying.

  4. My last word on this post, I just don’t see calling a person SICK because they had rather go to heaven than hell.
    “For many, that’s the bottom line: am I going to an eternal reward or eternal punishment?
    Just as the relationship I described in the first two paragraphs is far from healthy, so such an attitude toward God is sick.”

    Please God or suffer the consequence.

    Tim what is there that you can do to please God, except to completely obey as Jesus did, What can you give God other than obedience.If you are saying you obey God out of love and “fear of God’s wrath” never enters into it. You are a great man, I read about a man who did just that, I didn’t know there were others.
    But even Jesus asked to be rewarded.

    Jhn 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
    Jhn 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

  5. Given that God describes Himself as our Father, I wonder how often we project our own experiences with our parents onto our view of how God views His relationship with His children. Just curious…

  6. Even in a loving relationship, though, there’s the aspect of, “Oh man, she’ll kill me if I do that!” sometimes.

    Like when I want to go buy an iPad or some other expensive toy :)

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