Thursday, August 04, 2005

God Owes Me

By Alexander Samuels

Are you one of those Christians who are constantly bargaining with God? We say, "Lord, don't I deserve this because I did that for you?" Or, "Lord, surely you should remove this hard time I'm going through right now because of the many good things I've done in your name?" We think God is not fair. We feel as if we've done our part and God owes us something for it. I know that I have fallen into this error of judgment on many occasions. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones does an excellent job of explaining our wrong thinking in his book Spiritual Depression. Here's an excerpt: . . .

Do not think in terms of bargains and rights in the Kingdom of God. That is absolutely fatal. There is nothing as wrong as the spirit which argues that because I do this, or because I have done that, I have a right to expect something else in return. . . . I know very good evangelical Christian people, who seem to be thinking like that. 'Now', they say, 'if we pray for certain things, we are bound to have them . . . if we pray all night for revival we must have revival'. I have sometimes described this as the 'penny in the slot' idea of Christianity. . . . But that surely is to deny the whole principle which our Lord is teaching. . . . What would the position be if we could command these things at will? But we cannot. Let us get rid of this bargaining spirit. . . . The Holy Spirit is Lord, and He is a Sovereign Lord. He sends these things in His own time and in His own way . . . we must realize that we have no right to anything at all. 'But', says someone, 'does not Paul teach about judgment and rewards in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, in the fifth chapter?' Certainly he does, and he does so likewise in 1 Corinthians 3, and our Lord Himself in the twelfth chapter of Luke talks about those who are beaten with many stripes and those who receive few stripes and so on. Well, what of that? The reply is that even the rewards are of grace. He need not give them, and if you think you can determine and predict how they are to come you will be quite wrong. Everything is of grace in the Christian life from the very beginning to the very end. To think in terms of bargains and to murmur at results implies a distrust of Him, and we need to watch our own spirits lest we harbor the thought that He is not dealing with us justly and fairly.

Should we bargain with God who has purchased our souls to set us free? Shall we question His integrity when we feel life is against us? What price can you pay that equals our debt to Calvary? There is none. If we choose to bargain with God, it is from a position of hypocrisy. God knows our needs before we ask and it is only He who knows the answer that is best.

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