Once again we will look at our motives in our Christian life. We have looked at those who serve to prove salvation, those who serve to keep salvation, and those who serve to earn salvation. We have also looked at those who serve for their own glory. So, today I want to look at those who serve to try and repay God for this amazing gift of salvation by His grace that we received when we believed.
Ephesians 2:8–9 tells us it is “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” It is not of works so we may not boast, including after our salvation too. When we work and serve to try and repay God for this gift, we are seeking to boast in our salvation. This is also a false motive.
Lewis Sperry Chafer gives solid advice on this when he wrote, “All attempts to repay His gift, be they ever so sincere, serve only to frustrate His grace and to lower the marvelous kindness of God to the sordid level of barter and trade. How faithfully we should serve Him, but never to repay Him! Service is the Christian’s means of expressing his love and devotion to God, as God has expressed His love to those whom He saves by the gracious thing He has done. Christian service for God should be equally gracious” (Grace, 1922, pg. 7).
We should serve the Lord out of love and devotion, and not try and repay Him. Love and devotion to Him because we love Him and are so thankful for what He has done for us. Our salvation was a gift and to seek to repay this is insulting. We would not do this for another person because we know it is insulting and not appropriate to repay them for a gift. Now, we may love them deeper and serve them harder after receiving the gift but this is not to repay. No, it is out of love and thankfulness for the gift, and also, thinking we may receive more gifts if we serve well.
Some may think that serving the Lord for rewards is bad, but it is not. We see that the Lord has told us to lay up treasures in heaven and not here on earth (Matt. 6:19-20). That through good and faithful service where we are committed to the end we will receive a crown of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:7-8). That those who persevere to the end will receive special rewards (c.f. Rev.2:1-3:22). So, rewards are an important part of our service. But as I have written in a previous post (Godly Living and Rewards), “The trophy or ring is second to their desire to finish well and as the victor.” We serve to finish well but also for rewards.
I want to end this post today with this amazing summation of why we serve by Charlie Bing; “We know that rewards are not the only, or necessarily the best, motivation for godly living. Love, gratitude, and duty are some of the highest motivations for serving God in this life. But there is nothing wrong with the encouragement and consolation that rewards bring. Since rewards are decreed and designed by God, they shouldn’t be considered inferior or scorned in contempt. Every Christian should be taught about rewards” (Simply By Grace, 105). I pray that you will each one go forth and serve the Lord in love today knowing that your good and excellent service is garnering you rewards in heaven.