Why should Christians do good?
It’s that age-old question: if we’re saved by grace alone through our faith in Jesus, why bother with doing good? Paul anticipated this question:
‘What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?’ Romans 6:1
Well, no. We know that being a Christian means changes to our life. But why?
This is a common one.
Gratitude should be our default before God (Romans 1:21). But we speak about gratitude as something we give back to God – almost like a payment.
He did everything for me in Jesus so I pay him back with my gratitude.
But what happens when we run out of gratitude? When we feel flat? When we’re battling bitterness against God?
Gratitude is right and good, but it only goes so far. It’s not enough to empower the radically changed lives that followers of Jesus are called to (Ephesians 4:1).
God doesn’t call us to look to our gratitude reserves, but to our new identity to fuel our holy living:
‘We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?’ Romans 6:2
Whereas we were previously slaves to sin, God gives us a new identity (Romans 6:6). He calls us, ‘dead to sin.’
We can’t be ‘more dead’ to sin when we’re serving hard at church, or ‘less dead’ to sin when we click on a porn site. There’s no sliding-scale. Christians are dead to sin. End of.
Paul goes on: “Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).
No longer dead, but alive.
A butterfly flies, not out of gratitude that it’s no longer a caterpillar; it flies because it’s a butterfly.
We must put sin to death and do good, not first out of gratitude, but out of our new identity: we’re dead to sin and alive in God.