Ephesians 6:8 (KJV) 8Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
Even in and under the age of grace, the Lord still operates in a reward system. Doing good still has its merits and blessings. All of us are still affected by this divinely ordained principle, system, or design.
Whoever we are and whatever our status is in society, we live in the assurance that our God Who is gracious is also God who is fair and just. He won’t shortchange us. God compensates our life of loving faithfulness. He doesn’t have favoritism; it’s because (I personally take it as) we’re all His favorites.
We find delight in pleasing our Master, and He returns the favor in an inestimably gracious way. That’s why I understand that there’s no contradiction between grace and rewards. God values our good works, He rewards them, and His rewards are incalculably more gracious than what our works deserve. This is clear in the principle of sowing and reaping; in general, what we reap is always multiplied times more than what we sow.
This is why we so willingly, lovingly, diligently, and enthusiastically serve the Lord and others. Although His rewards aren’t our prime motivation, we believe the truth about it. They’re real; they come; we gratefully receive them, we enjoy them; and we know there’s a lot more of them. Praise God.
Ephesians 4:16 (KJV) 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
There are no misfits in the body of Christ. God put us all together “perfectly.” We all have a part to play. We affect each other. How faithfully or unfaithfully we do our part determines whether or not we help each other grow in His love and likeness.
We serve others well; we serve others the best way we can. We don’t serve just for the sake of serving. This isn’t something we do just for the sake of fulfilling our obligation. If that’s the case, we would settle for the easiest ministry in the church. No; we pursue what we believe God has called us to. We seek out the best and greatest way we can serve the church—not for our own personal aggrandizement, enrichment, or popularity, but for the benefit of His children, His kingdom, His Name.
Ephesians 3:19 (KJV) 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
One of the ways we can be filled with all the fullness of God is by knowing the love of Christ. Although his love is beyond full comprehension, it isn’t beyond partial comprehension. And God has given us the wisdom we need so we can keep growing in our knowledge and understanding of His love: in its width, length, height, and depth. God want us to live out His fullness; we want to live out the fullness of life and power that He gives us. Knowing, experiencing, living out and living in the love of our Lord Jesus has a direct correlation with living out God’s life and power.
Some believers often have “unspoken” preference between power and fruit of the Holy Spirit; they emphasize one over the other. Perish the thought that I’m implying what they’re doing is wrong. Personally, I conscientiously try my best to teach the importance of both. Both have its merits, both are important to God. Both are connected. God strengthens us with His Spirit and invites us to a greater understanding of His love so we can live in His strength and power, and do so with love as our motivation.
People, especially the lost, need to see the reality of God. In our particular generation, there are many who would no longer listen to reason. There are so many who are set in their beliefs—reasonable or unreasonable. Many are no longer open and willing to dialogue. Blindness is so prevalent. Lies are rampant, acceptable, and promoted in order to support and push their beliefs and agenda. It’s in this milieu that manifestations of unconditional love and miraculous power of God through us may have greater impact. Reason, love, power—all these are important; God has given and made them all available to us; we utilize all of them, and we grow in all of them.
Romans 14:15 (NIV) 15If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died.
We’re aware that fellow believers can still be distressed. And the cause of each other’s distress can be each other. To be such a cause equates to being unloving in our actions. The mandate is clear: our freedom in Jesus ought to not cause anyone to be distressed or destroyed. Our souls are way more precious than any food, drink, or anything this world has to offer.
Our Lord Jesus has set us free, and whoever He sets free is truly free. It is for freedom itself that He set us free; that speaks of the great value of freedom. But there’s something of greater worth than that: souls. God loves each of us tremendously, that explains the rationality of our precious Lord Jesus willingly leaving the glories of heaven to seek and to save the lost by sacrificing His life as a ransom payment for us.
We as His children understand His indescribable love—not totally—but enough to know that it’s great beyond measure. Having this set in our hearts and minds, we’re willing to sacrifice our freedom to protect others, especially our spiritual family. Sure, everything is permissible for us, but we understand that not everything is beneficial. Sure, we’re free to do anything, but we’re aware that there are things that can be destructive instead of constructive; there are things that can get us enslaved or addicted, there are things that can cause others to stumble, and there are things that just plainly don’t glorify God. Having the heart of God for His children, we willingly submit our liberty to love if a choice has to be made.
Psalm 32:2 (KJV) 2Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
The blessedness of a guilt-free life—nothing can describe it sufficiently. Guilt-ridden or guilt free—there is no denying the humongous difference. Praise God; in His great love, mercy, and grace, He forgives us of our sins. We don’t have to pretend to be sinless, perfect, and pure. We come to Him with humble humility, acknowledging our wretchedness, rebellion, and disobedience—our neediness—our need or a Savior, and He unfailingly comes through for us.
are1 Chronicles 17:27 (KJV) 7Now therefore let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may be before thee for ever: for thou blessest, O Lord, and it shall be blessed for ever.
It’s the pleasure of our heavenly Father, the One Who loves us most, the One Who’s merciful, gracious, and generous to us, to bless us and our families or households. Our natural and most fitting response to that is to reciprocate His goodness by abiding in Him—persevering in our commitment and devotion—to the end. Why not? His blessings and commitment to us are eternal. We’re blessed, and we will continue to live under an open heaven because of His open heart.
Psalm 109:28 (KJV) 28Let them curse, but bless thou: when they arise, let them be ashamed; but let thy servant rejoice.
We bless others; not all of them reciprocate that. There are people who dislike us despite the good way we treat them. Others would get hurt when cursed at; it weighs heavily on them. We pray for them that they’d handle things better. It’s good to be treated well, but when we believers are cursed, we’ve learned not to get hurt; what matters is that God blesses us. And His Words are more potent.
We glory in the Lord; in Him, no one can really hurt us. God has an effectively powerful way of protecting us. Although we don’t rejoice in other people’s pain—even those who mistreat us, often, the harm they intend for us boomerangs on them, and they’re the ones who suffer from their own actions. Here again, it’s made clear why we can heed the Word’s admonition for us to rejoice in the Lord always.
There are many reasons why others curse us; they probably hate us for reasons we don’t know or reasons unfounded. There are probably many reasons why God blesses us, but there’s one I know for sure: He absolutely loves us. He’s never an absentee God. Even in those moments when He’s seemingly very quiet, and the slanders, accusations, and lies of our enemies abound, God is blessing us. Even in the middle of the worst treatment from others, we’re at the very center of the the best treatment from God. It’s a fact of our Christian journey: people will repay us evil for good, hatred for love, and slander for praise; we’re fine; our joy’s intact in the Lord.