I was reminded to, through my private time with God, that faith is a much better motivator for obedience to God than gratitude. There are three primary reasons for this:
1. It is impossible to pay God back for anything He has ever done or ever will do. Romans 11:35-36 asks the question, "Who has given a gift to God that he might be repaid? For from Him and through Him, and to Him all are things. To Him be glory forevermore." God owns it all anyway. Whatever we give to God, is really simply giving back to Him what He has already given to us and which He already owns. We own nothing and have nothing to offer God. An obedience that is motivated by thankfulness is usually thinking that we are so grateful for what God has done, we have to give back to Him. But we have nothing of our own to offer. God already owns that which we intend to, or do give back to God.
2. When thankfulness is the motive for our obedience, we turn grace into a business transaction and it is no longer grace. When we say to someone who just had us over for dinner, that we want to repay them by having them over the following week, we have taken an act of grace on their part and turned it into a trade, a business transaction and nullified grace.
3. Using thankfulness instead of faith overlooks the crucial importance of having faith in God's future grace. Thankfulness looks the past and uses gratitude for past blessings to motivate future obedience. When we use faith as the fuel for obedience, we look to the future with hope, confidence, and certainty in the person and work of God. We claim his promises and depend upon his character to be there when we step out in obedience and take action to live the way He called us to live.
Obedience from thankfulness and gratitude nullifies grace and devalues it. Obedience from faith in future grace, trusts God for more grace to be there when we need it and makes God glorious because we rest all of our hopes, dreams, desires, and strength upon Him who possess heaven and earth!
Thank you John Piper for opening up scripture and reminding me of truths I need to hear today. May you be strengthened and encouraged as well as you place your