What if you were raised from birth to believe that you had to get up at 4:00 am and bust your back with hard labor for hours each morning in order for the sun to come up, & continue working throughout the day to keep it in the sky, then late in the evening, as a result of you getting tired & slowing down, is why the sun went down.
You actually believed that the sun wouldn’t come up & stay up if it wasn’t for your efforts.
How much would you appreciate the sun? I’m sure after many years you would even grow to resent it.
Then one day someone told you that all of your efforts were in vein & that you didn’t have to do anything. That the sun came up automatically every morning with or without you. Wouldn’t your entire attitude change towards the raising & setting of the sun?
I’m also sure that it would take a transitional period to move from shock & disbelief, confusion, anger, or even regret for wasting so much of your life based on a lie, but once you got through all that & finally were able to rest in that truth that you could benefit greatly from the sun without having to do anything,… except fully believing & just resting in the truth that the sun is a free gift for you to enjoy, and all you have to do is accept it.
Now… How would you view the sun from that point forward?
That would be the very pivotal point where you move from an attitude of “obligation” to now “appreciation”.
Lets apply this to how you view your belief in God. Do you serve Him out of obligation or appreciation. As we see from the example above, each yields a different life course.
The Thinking that causes you to believe that you have to earn your passage to heaven or “Do” something to be in Gods good graces, and keep “Doing” things to remain saved. This kind of outlook dictates that you will never live up to your own expectations. Notice I said YOUR OWN expectations… Because these are not God’s expectations… and it is those unrealistic, false expectations that cause;
- Resentment = View of never being “good enough” or able to “live up to” a certain standard, so you say to yourself “what’s the point of even trying”!
- Anger = Constant resentment !
- Bitterness. = Constant anger !
- And many other issues in your life that are all related to this way of thinking, usually ending up being angry at God or even stop believing in Him altogether.
I’ve heard comparisons such as “God is like a kid that has a magnifying glass going around burning ants“, That God is the kid just waiting for us to screw up so he can torch us with sun beam. Or God, to teach you a lesson like “don’t touch the burner on the stove”, grabs your hand and forces it onto the burner to show you that its hot.
These are the views of someone that thinks they have to serve God out of obligation, that they have to “be” good enough, or even perfect, all because they misunderstand how God thinks of them…
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast. Or else you would be tempted to say “the thing YOU did” saved you… Whatever that may be… Walked down to kneel at the alter, or a repeat after me prayer, or you think you’re a “good person” by what you do or bad things that you don’t do, etc. I will expand on “works” in just a minute, so stick with me…
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Those two verses alone prove that you didn’t have to do anything to earn it or continue doing anything to keep it)
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
The attitude of believing in God out of obligation leaves you weary and burdened, and the only way we can find that rest in coming to Him, is to find out what His yoke and burden are and how to apply it to your life. It says to learn from Him, and to learn from Him in the deepest ways, you have to also find out WHO He truly is, so you will be open to learn His ways. Usually you are not very open to learn if you feel obligated out of forced duty.
Knowing you can never earn salvation or do anything to make it to heaven, short of simply trusting that Yeshua “Did” everything and “Earned” passage for you. So your service & willingness to change is motivated out of the spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving leaving you much more open to learn His ways, and resulting in;
- Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self Control
- Which are the Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23
Now also like the response of obligation that sets the course of your life on a negative path, appreciation sets your life course in the opposite direction, making things a lot more enjoyable The same circumstances come and go but the way you respond is totally different.
There is a third attitude that in some cases, wedges itself somewhere in the middle of the other two and that is expectation. You have the same knowledge as appreciation, but having no gratitude to go with it, like obligation, which comes from the spirit of entitlement.
So developing a heart of thanksgiving, you breed actions that prove your appreciation, otherwise, the third category of having no motivational gratitude at all for what was done, falls in the category of expectation. This is a dangerous place to be, because you, somewhat, realize that you don’t have to do anything to earn salvation but neither do you care. You have no gratitude because it’s just a head knowledge and not a heart knowledge, resulting in a false belief, that later on down the road mostly leads to a falling away. Some refer to it as backsliding but really there was never really a saving transition in the first place.
Through the lens of these different attitudes, lets transition into the way we interpret the law of God. Some refer to them as “Rules and Regulations,” that you have to “get them right” or you will end up in Hell. (Obligation)
By nature, we are all “law breakers” or else there wouldn’t be a need for the law, even applied to the laws of the land here on planet earth, if we were not prone to break the law, there wouldn’t even be a thought of making laws. Right? We have to have laws. Some are there to prevent accidents like speed limits, some are there to keep order, like traffic lights and some to govern & keep things civil and fair. (original intent not corruption)
Like the patrol officer is there to enforce the law, what happens if you’re just living life, driving on the freeway, what’s the first instinct reaction when you see a patrol car in the median? You immediately take your foot off the accelerator and look down at your speedometer to see if you’re obeying the law. The law, like the officer, is a reminder of the law, to keep things from getting out of control. If you agree with the concept of the law, there isn’t much convincing you to be a law abiding citizen and stay within the protection of that law, living in harmony with the law enforcer. Now apply that thinking to God’s Law. Those “rules and regulations” of God are only there to point out to you the guidelines of the law so you can live in harmony with God and under the protection of His provisions. Like here on earth, being a respectable citizen in the eyes of the law enforcer by doing your best to stick by the law, you might get a ticket every once in a while for not paying attention, but you will stay out of prison even if you get tickets or warnings. Gods law can be compared by looking at it to know, (1). That we are all law breakers, (no one has ever kept the law perfectly, how many has ever went over the speed limit? Or rolled past a stop sign without coming to a complete stop? And even if you got caught for either, would the officer rip you out of the vehicle and angrily throw you into prison? No.) And (2). as a guide to protect you from harm. (Like a stop sigh is in place to keep you from crashing into other vehicles at an intersection.) So respecting Gods law as a citizen of heaven and follow it to the best of your abilities, means you don’t have to worry about being thrown into hell for every little thing you do or don’t do right. You might get warnings or corrections every once in a while but the focus isn’t on “keeping it or else“.. outlook. (Obligation) it’s on doing the best you can for your protection. (Appreciation)
Now being totally against the law of the land and respect for the law enforcers by going against it like robbery, theft, destruction, murder, etc. then, yes, you will be forcefully apprehended, sentenced, and thrown into prison. The same in comparison to Gods laws. Before we were respecters and followers of His law, we were without excuse, or escape, sentenced to the death penalty, for being a disrespecting law breaker. Being a naturally born law breakers, God knows that we can’t perfectly keep the law anyway, so He provided someone who kept the law perfectly in our stead so we wouldn’t have to be found guilty for breaking the law, punishable by death, (Romans 6:23) so the replacement also died in our place to satisfy the penalty, taking all of our offences upon Himself. Therefore freeing us to live under that protection as perfect and righteous before the Judge. That substitute was the Son of God, Yeshua. We just choose to use the faith, that He also gave us, as a way of thanking Him for what He did.
Galatians 3:23,24 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
1 John 2:1-6 1 My little children, these things I write to you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that says, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keeps his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that says he abides in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
The only way you have to worry is if you are a deliberate law breaker and could care less about God’s laws, claiming to be the captain of your own ship, refuse the truth by denying it either by your words and/or your actions, (works). Your actions will always confirm or deny your words, so you can verbally accept it and physically deny it, So until both words and actions are in line, I would seriously consider a deep self examination of your hearts intentions.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
2 Peter 1:3-12 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.
Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling
Matthew 7:13,14 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
There is a doctrine gaining ground today that teaches that all you have to have is just a superficial head knowledge belief that makes you saved and that you don’t have to do anything else or even remotely resemble the fruits of the spirit, which is what happens when you have true appreciation and a heart belief through regeneration, proven true by a desire to do good works.
- Works What are works? Or Heart attitude about works?
Your works are basically actions in the form of responding to any given circumstance or situation.
For instance, if someone found you homeless under a bridge, starving, cold, sick, and almost dead. Brought you home, gave you access to a bath, food, clothing & gave you free reign of the house… You now have one of two ways to respond, and how you respond, is essentially “your works”.
1. Works through the eyes of “Obligation”, is thinking that the homeowner expects you to earn your keep and he locks the doors at night so, by seeing that, you think that you are a prisoner and if you don’t earn your keep, he has a dungeon & you will be tortured if you don‘t. You, then, will display that belief by your actions or “your works”. Begrudgingly & resentful…
2. Works through the eyes of “Appreciation”, is thinking that the homeowner acted out of love and didn’t expect anything in return. It was just a free gift from him for you to enjoy (through faith). It’s that “belief” that sets the hook of acceptance, therefore leading to a true conversion of attitude, proven by your response. So “Works” of gratitude might be; cleaning the house, painting the fence, repairing a broken door, mowing the lawn… etc. those are your works, driven by a heart of gratitude for what someone has done for you. And that is the same works that result in a true conversion to salvation in understanding that you didn’t do anything except believe that YHWH gave you the gift of salvation that you could never repay. Same exact scenario but different results because of a different belief that responded in opposing actions. “works”
Your attitude reflects your perception, In other words, The attitude that you express towards an act of; whatever you perceive, will display what you believe. For instance. Love; if you perceive it to be hate, then you will act on that belief as if it were hate, and not on its original intention, which was love.
So when God says to “believe”, by “faith”, that belief is followed by an action that displays your true perception of that belief, and those actions are your works that solidify what you believe.
If you believe the homeowners intentions, that he just wants to invite you into his home out of Love, that it was a free gift and anybody can come there, wouldn’t that spark a desire to show gratitude through actions? Or to even run down to the bridge where all the other homeless, dirty, starving and cold people are, to tell them that there is a better place to be, that you don’t have to die here and all they have to do is believe it and follow you there? You might get some responses like… I’ll take my chances here under the bridge, there is no such thing as a homeowner, that may be your thing or I‘m the captain of my own ship… etc.
Homeowner = God YHWH
Home = Salvation
Gift of Love, Rest, Cleansing, Freedom = Son Yeshua
Dungeon = Hell
When you don’t believe something, instead of being skeptical right out of the gate, or use skepticism as an excuse, do some research to see if your belief actually lines up with what the actual intention, of that something, should be.
You Didn’t Do, and can’t Do anything to “EARN” salvation, Let those words take root. Take as much time as you need to fully understand that, because if you don’t truly understand that at it’s simplest form, you won’t live in it’s fullest freedom.
Lets say I came to you with a gift and I handed it to you with no strings attached. I desperately wanted you to accept my gift because it would please me to give it to you, Have you ever given anybody a gift, Just Because you loved them and you didn’t even think of them giving you anything in return? They didn’t do anything to trigger you giving them that gift,.. Nothing… BUT… What has to happen in order for that Gift to become legally transferred & final?.. They would have to take that gift and make it their own, for the transfer of ownership to be binding, or else that gift remains with the giver. Right or Wrong? It does not transfer to the recipient unless or until that recipient accepts and takes that gift upon themselves as their own ,… In the same way, You CAN NOT earn salvation BUT you DO have to accept it and take it upon yourself in order for it to BE!!! In order for it to take root, or become final or legally transferred as a change of ownership from YHWH, through Yeshua into YOU!!!
Works explained in scripture.
James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
James 2:14-26 14 What does it profit, my brothers, that a man says he has faith, and has not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and well fed; and you give them nothing which is needful to the body; what does it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 See how faith was active along with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 You see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny [him], being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
So based on those scriptures, what are your works? Your actions, in the form of responding to a circumstance or situation, in this case salvation,… you accept the gift of salvation and then your actions, from that point forward, either confirm or deny the truth. A head knowledge and a heart knowledge will render two separate lifestyles, one of Obligation or Expectation, and one of Gratitude or Appreciation, making it obvious which one took root.
Obligation = belief that you can’t live up to a certain standard (based on your efforts), you never seem to be good enough, that salvation is a result of your works, which display;
Resentment, Anger, Bitterness
Appreciation = attitude of thanksgiving, because you see salvation as a free gift that you can’t and don’t have to Earn, which display;
Fruits of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self Control
Everything boils down to the way you perceive things, the way you choose to look at or respond to any circumstance or situation, which are your “works”.
Explained in the context of salvation, you can’t DO anything to earn salvation but you must accept it as the gift that it is and take it to make it a part of your life as a proof of your salvation, so it takes root in your heart and not just a superficial false unregenerate head knowledge.
Look at Gods Law as a schoolmaster to recognize that you will always come short of fulfilling its demands, and let it point you to a willing substitute that took those demands and fulfilled them in your stead as a free gift out of a deep and unconditional love for you. Causing you to deeply appreciate what was done for you and then turn you appreciation towards that substitute, Yeshua, in the form of good works. Not as an obligation to perfectly follow those laws.
If you get this right, the truth of how you should actually view God’s Law, the correct response to the gift of salvation by grace through faith made alive by good works, & because of your gratitude, dropping the false belief of obligation and adopting a full life of appreciation towards Gods abundant provisions.
You will experience the life He has created for you to it’s fullest.
Get in your Bible and then live by it, if you don’t have one, Get one, get in it and then live by it.