“If we are saved by grace, do I HAVE to be good?” Yes, you do. “But, do I HAVE to be good as a way of having eternal life?” No – we are saved by grace and not by what we do. “So then, why should I care about being good?” Good questions I suppose. We teach that we are not saved by our goodness but by God’s goodness in Christ and in giving us His goodness in Grace.
So – why be a good person?
- Because it’s the right thing to do.
- Because it shows that we truly love God. Jesus said in John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Galatians 5:6 says that what counts is “faith working through love.”
Why do we work so hard at fighting sin and trying to be good? Those who think in terms of the law will say we do so to escape hell and to go to heaven. But grace changed our motivation from fear to love. Grace does not change our obligation – that we ought to obey. But grace DOES change our motivation – why we obey. We obey not TO BE saved but because WE ARE saved. So our works are not sin offerings to God but thank offerings.
Love is a strong motivation. A parent will risk his her life without hesitation to save their child from a burning building. A husband will sacrifice what he wants for the desires of his wife whom he loves so much. As children we obeyed our parents out of fear of being punished for disobeying. But as we grow older we find ourselves doing things for our parents – even some things we once complained about as children. What has changed? Our motives have grown up. We’ve moved from fear to love. If we love God, we should WANT to be good because it is pleasing to Him.