I was asked some time back whether I would follow God if there were no heaven; if I weren't promised a reward. I didn't understand it at first, but then I remembered that the world thinks Christians are just like everyone else. We're not. We're new creations. We don't serve God because He promises us heaven.
If we do, how are we better than we were when we were pagans? For then we sought benefit only. Now, we seek to do the will of God. If we only followed God because He will give us heaven when we die, what good is living? Should we not fast continuously and take risks with our bodies to die quickly? Nay!
If there were no heaven, I would still serve God. Why? Because He is God. He is Holy and Just and True. I would be a hypocrite, a liar, the worst kind of rogue if I said, I will live a lie because I don't like the truth. I am not righteous in this. I am a proud man, and I refuse to be, that is, to remain wrong. I will serve God because God is True. I will be happy that He saved me and offers me heaven, but that is not the reason I serve Him. I serve Him because He is God, and I want to please Him.
The Jews have, as part of their passover celebration, a thing called "It would have been enough." They go through a litany of God's mighty works in this manner:
If He had brought us out of Egypt but not parted the Red Sea, it would have been enough.
If He had parted the Red Sea but not given us the Law, it would have been enough.
If He had given us the Law but not guided us through the wilderness, it would have been enough.
If He had guided us through the wilderness but not brought us over Jordan, it would have been enough.
I think we could say these and add:
If He had allowed us to serve Him but not offered us salvation from hell, it would have been enough.
If He had offered us salvation from hell but not promised us heaven, it would have been enough.
God has already given us more than enough, and He promised us more: things we can't imagine for being so good. How, then, can we point a finger at God and say, "You haven't done enough!"?
It is like a man who says, "I am not rich. I don't like this truth. I will lie." He tells everyone he is rich, but it doesn't change the truth. I would rather die in truth than live in lies.
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness;" that call truth lies, and lies truth.
Father God, I thank you that you have done more than enough, much more than we deserve. I thank you for your love, your Son's sacrifice, and your promises. Help each of us to grow closer to you, now and forever, amen.
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