Q&A: Motivation to Obey God

Motivation to Obey God

If we're saved by grace through faith, what motive do we have to obey God?

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Answer

What motives do my kids have to obey me? They can obey me purely out of fear because they know that they'll be punished if they don't obey me. And yet, that's not the way they obey me most of the time. They obey me because they respect me as their father, because they love me as their father, or they love their mother. And so, obedience doesn't require fear and punishment or reward to motivate it. There are other reasons. So, I obey God, not because I'm afraid God is going to do something to me, but because I love God, because I have a relationship with God. I want to please God. I want to honor God. I respect God. And so, Jesus said, "If you love me you will keep my commandments," not because they're burdensome, not because, I know that one day I'll stand before him, but because I love Jesus. Now, of course, one day we will stand before God, we will give an account of the things we've been doing, and there is motivation in that, But ultimately the love that God has poured into my life, the grace he's given me, my understanding of who he is in power and in glory, those are the things that motivate me to obey him.

Answer by Dr. Alan Hultberg

Dr. Alan Hultberg is Associate Professor of Bible Exposition and New Testament at Talbot School of Theology.