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Carrot and the Stick
I have lived a life knowing of God's love and believing in God's wrath. It is much like the carrot and stick in real life. Some people will
encourage others with a carrot or a promise of reward for performing some task in a manner meeting with their approval. Others will threaten with a stick or some threat of retribution if one does not do as they demand.
Both scenerios are performance based and how we live most of our life. My impression of God likely is much like the carrot and the stick. If I do good, God rewards me. If I do bad, God whacks me. This performance based relationship of God is endorsed by most of mankind. I have pleaded with friends for the possibility of an alternative view toward God, but no one really wants to listen. My friends are comfortable with a reward and punishment relationship with the Father. It makes me wonder if because this is there expectation, maybe that's what the Father gives them.
Over the years, I have begun to appreciate the love of God more and fear His wrath less. It would seem from the carrot and stick principle I would be falling on the side of leading a life based more on God's love than His wrath and that would be partially true, but it is more than just an enhanced appreciation of His love in exchange for me "doing" good according to His will.
It has occurred to me God did it all when Jesus died on the cross for my sins and your sins. There is nothing you or I can do to be worthy of Christ's love. As matter of fact, I don't think there is anything you or i can do to make God love us any less or any more. God's love is without measure and withheld from no one. His love for you and I was authenticated by what Jesus did on the cross.
It is this gift of love God has given us that negates the carrot and stick principle of God's performance in your life. Consider if you might the largest thing imaginable and then realized God's love is bigger. If God's love is so big, how big must the stick be to whack us. I think the thought of a stick this big is ridiculous and yet mankind readily believes God whacks us to get our attention.
One can not endorse the concept of God whacking without acknowledging He is whacking Jesus. As a believer in "The Way", Jesus abides in you and you in Him. I believe all the whacking was done on the cross and now God draws us to Him with His love. His love is dimensionless, unmeasurable and uncontainable. His love wraps around us and abides within us.
His love is all we need to be drawn to Him and readily enthusiastically praise Him. It is in our response to His love and He is Gloried. It is not what we do for Christ, but who we are in Christ…
We are a child of the King, robed in His righteousness and fully loved beyond our imaginations. It is with His love in our lives, He has no desire and no need to once again raise His stick in an expression of wrath. Today we are the recepients of His love expressed on the cross through Jesus Christ who saved us from God's wrath.