Doing Right Because It Is Right

Offering various rewards as an incentive to motivate folks to do something, permeates today’s society (see here and here). We’ve all seen parents in grocery stores think only in terms of rewarding their children — even rewarding them for bad behavior. When a parent says to their child, “If you will be quit throwing a temper tantrum, I’ll buy you this candy bar,” the parent is rewarding bad behavior and the child quickly understands how to get what he wants.

Many churches are offering physical rewards for the purpose of gaining more people. It ranges from the “gospel of health and wealth” philosophy that says, “If you give $100, God will give you $1,000,” to appealing to the fleshly appetites of entertainment to get people to attend their services.

Whatever happened to doing right because it is right?

It’s true that Jesus offers men rewards, but those incentives have nothing to do with fleshly desires. In fact, He condemns those who follow him only because they are being fed (John 6:26-27). God expects right behavior, because He is holy and we must be like him in order to share in the life to come (1 Peter 1:1-16; 1 John 2:6).

Christians are committed to a way of life that is righteous, because it is the right way to live (1 Peter 1:13-16; 1 Peter 2:11-12; 1 Peter 3:8-17). Sometimes the righteous life may offer a material advantage, but that isn’t why the Christian lives that way. At other times, being righteous may incur a difficult road — the righteous may be mocked and persecuted (Matthew 10:16-24; cf. Matthew 5:11-12). The disciple of the Lord does right when people speak well of him and when they do not — his motivation is doing right, simply because it is the right thing to do.

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets