Our Performance Matters to God— As His Children

A contemporary evangelical meme asserts that believers do not have to perform to please God. However, many New Testament passages indicate otherwise. Previous posts demonstrate our need to perform in order to please God in our roles as citizens of His kingdom and the bride of Christ.

John writes, “Now we are children of God.” (1John 3:2) We must also perform to please God in that role.

God stresses the need for children to obey parents in the Ten Commandments. Paul underscores the significance of that command by noting it is “the first commandment with a promise.” (Ephesians 6:2)

If God commands us to perform in order to please earthly parents, certainly we must perform to please our Heavenly Father.

Some contend that when God looks on His children, He does not see our ungodly behavior but only the righteousness of Christ. However, this assertion is incompatible with Hebrews 12:5-6:

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

Our Heavenly Father’s discipline demonstrates that He sees our behavior and is displeased when we disobey. The seriousness with which He views our misbehavior is revealed by the word “chasten,” the same Greek word used to describe the scourging of Christ by Roman soldiers. Perhaps God is so concerned that we display godly behavior because as His children we enhance or deface His reputation in the eyes of the world.

We must perform in order to please our Heavenly Father. Failure to do so results in severe consequences. Assertions to the contrary place believers in jeopardy.

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