Sunday, December 20, 2009

Earning Rewards

Matthew 16:24-27
(24) Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
(25) For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
(26) For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
(27) For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

I've been listening to the audio book of John Piper's Desiring God. Piper's big idea is that as Christians we are to be "Christian Hedonists." In other words, he changes the beginning of the Westminster Confession to read that God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him. It is both our duty and our delight to treasure God for the sake of Him being God.

What does that have to do with this passage? We have developed a kind of gnostic asceticism in today's church. We tend to be of the belief that good works are their own reward and that they somehow lose value if we try to gain anything from them. This passage tells us something different.

Instead of gnosticism we should become hedonistic in enjoying the pleasures that only come from God. This passage tells us that what we do will ultimately have reward. We naturally seek gain from everything we do. We sin because we think that sin will give us something that holiness will not. The problem is that sin becomes more attractive when we think that holiness has no gain.

Let us instead fix our eyes on the eternal. Sin may have its immediate effects, but long-term only holiness will truly satisfy us and give us what we need. Let's remember this.

No comments: