FAQ: Why try to do the right thing?

Question: A lot of times people have questions when it comes to morality and Christianity and how we balance them. If we believe that as long as we have faith in Jesus we’ll go to heaven, why try to do anything right at all? If we’re forgiven for our sins, why do we continue to commit them, purposely or not? If we just get a free pass and do whatever we want to do in life, why try to do the right thing?

Answer: Christianity is not about morality. It is not about trying to reform your behavior. It is about how God transforms our character or our nature. The Bible tells us we are in Christ. We are new creations, not just the old ones trying to impress God or be better. We are made new. We are born again as Jesus said to Nicodemus. And good works, therefore become the fruit of the life we’re living.

The real debate is will we do more for love than we’ll do for guilt? A lot of people do good things because they feel guilty. They’re trying to make up for what’s lacking. But in the Christian faith, we do good works because that’s what we hunger for. That’s what we seek. These are the kind of people we are. We want to please God not because we fear Him, though we do understand He is Lord and sovereign. We want to please Him because we love Him.

It’s the same way a child wants to please a parent; not out of fear that the parent will abandon them, but because they know they have experienced the parent’s love and they want to please the one they love. It’s all about motivation. In Christianity our motivation is from the inside out. In religion the motivation is from the outside in. And truthfully, over time, only inside out motivation really works.

As a Christian, when I sin the sin is far more serious in my mind because now it’s a sin against my Heavenly Father. It’s a sin from the inside out. It’s a sin inside the family. It’s a sin not of ignorance, but of direct disobedience. It doesn’t sever the relationship, but it does alter the fellowship. And that is why God uses even guilt for His children to bring them back to repentance and to restoration.

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