How to pay God back for all he's given you.
Whether you're a new Christian or you've been one for a lifetime, John 1:16 rings true for you. It says, "For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace." And, oh, how sweet it is. But what the new Christian needs to understand is that this puts each recipient of this grace into a state of eternal indebtedness to God. In other words, you owe Him, new Christian. Big time. And the question is, How are you going to pay him back?
Let me further explain to help you feel the weight of the question. His grace toward you has accomplished several things of eternal magnitude:
Where sin and rebellion had left you stained and dead to God, his grace toward you has washed you perfectly clean and raised you to new life in Christ (Isaiah 1:18, 2 Corinthians 5:17). Every past, present, and future sin is forgiven and you stand perfectly righteous before God (Romans 8:1, 2 Corinthians 5:21). Thank you, Jesus!
Where the sinful desire of the flesh had taken hold in your life, God's grace toward you has set you free and has given you the power to live a life of victory as He transforms you into the image of his Son (Romans 6:6, 8:2-4). Your life will be a light in this dark world and will be filled with good fruit (Matthew 5:14, John 15:5). Praise God!
Where the adversities of life held you in bondage, the grace of God has given you a happiness in Him that is indomitable in the face of all the suffering and evil in this world (Psalm 16:11, Romans 5:3-5, 2 James 1:2-4). He has given you the power to be sorrowful yet always rejoicing and filled with joy (John 16:22, 2 Corinthians 6:10). Hallelujah!
Where the thought of death brought fear, confusion, and despair, God's grace has given you hope in the promise of eternal life to be lived out in the presence of God himself (John 3:16, Romans 6:23, 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10). You now get to say with joy, "To live is Christ, to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21) Glory to God!
The list could go on but the point is that you have received an inexpressible blessing from God that is the opposite of what you deserve, and you owe him. So, how are you going to repay him?
The Bible is very clear that you only have one option. How can you pay God back for all he's given you? The Bible answers: Ask for more. Psalm 116:12-14 says, "What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people." Like you, the Psalmist has guzzled the cup of grace that God has freely given. And what's his response? He raises his empty cup to God and calls for more. Really? Yes. And in doing so, he puts the fullness of God on display in the presence of all his people.
This seems counter intuitive at first but Scripture leaves us no other option. First of all, it is not as if our Father's resources are depleted in the slightest amount when he lavishes us with his grace. His fullness is of the infinite type and it is, therefore, dishonoring to Him to think we can add something back to him as a repayment.
Second of all, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:10, "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me." What this means is that every good deed you perform is a manifestation of the grace of God in your life and, therefore, cannot be used to pay Him back.
So, in all of your giving, know that you are not repaying God for what he's given you but that the grace of God is continuing to be poured out in your life. Honor your Father by asking him for more; more of his grace and love, more of his presence, more of his glory on display, more strength to serve, more faith to believe, more of Christ and his gospel in your life. Ask and you shall receive. Amen.