8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
From the fall, man in receiving to himself a righteousness of self, is a law to himself and a god to himself. It is no wonder that a natural man’s attitude is indifferent towards God owing to that fallen need to serve himself in everything he does. Hence, fallen man has made the pursuit of serving himself as the chief end of his life, a wicked end justified no doubt by the most devious means because the truth is that man is no God and so his self-centered pursuit of life is nothing short of dastardly. Even when he does something good, it is with the motive of serving his own interest, so there is never anything that is genuinely good that comes out of man because man doesn’t believe God is God, man on the contrary feels that he is god and that is why he rejects the truth about God because he sees no point in serving God’s interest over his own.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.
The other day I called Amazon to thank the advisor, whom I had fired the previous day because of the delay in delivery of my order. The advisor escalated my complaint and my order was delivered the very next day. I thought it would please God to display some neighbourly love by calling Amazon and appreciating that advisor for being patient with me and doing his job. So, I passed on a note of appreciation to his colleague over the phone and through an email feedback form as well. When I had finished the call, I felt almost in the 7th heaven (figurative) for doing this but I soon realized that the glory of the good I do belongs to God and was not for me to wallow in and delight in concerning how good I am myself. This incident brought me to write on this subject that the glory of the good we do belongs not to us but to God.
And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward.
True religion is about pleasing God and serving His interest, for hypocrites however, religion is all about pleasing people and serving their own interest. So, just as there is such a thing as temporal blessing, we ought to understand that these hypocrites who do good to serve their own interest and rewarded in full here on earth itself, where their every blessing is susceptible to the destruction/corruption of moth and vermin, possibly reflecting their own spiritual condition before God. I once attended a Bible study in Mumbai where a UK national asked this question: “Is it ok to serve God out of the desire of being rewarded?”, I then happened to understand that the fall of Adam is so ingrained in people that many Seek the Lord out of covetousness, & these people wish to serve the Lord with the intention of actually serving themselves. Indeed, God is no man’s debtor (Rom 11:33-35) and he will pay us back according to our deeds but Salvation is when we have the mind of Christ and God’s interest become our interests (Ps 37:4).
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
We must understand that the power to covert the heart, is of God (Ezek 36:26-27), we know that God does not look at outward appearance but at the heart (1Sam 16:7). Also, the Bible teaches us that life is in the blood, so figuratively the heart which pumps the blood in our bodies is seen as the source of our being. Therefore, the evil thoughts and actions that proceeds from the heart of natural man (Mat 15:18), shows he is corrupt at the very source of his being. However, since God has the power to covert the heart, when He looks at a regenerated soul, what God is look at or looking for is His own handiwork within us (Phil 1:6) and there is none can thwart (Job 42:2) His mighty saving right arm i.e. His Son Jesus Christ (Ps 98:1).
Jer 31:33 (in the context of Eph 2:11-16)
“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
To conclude, we can never freely obey God unless we are brought to desire it and enjoy it, which is what God brings about in His people. He gives us all a heart that seeks after Him and prizes Him over everything else in our lives (Mat 13:45-46). Out of the this regenerated heart flows our actions and intentions, which are God’s handiwork and for His own glory, making evident that His elect are a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) because the glory belongs all to the Triune God Almighty for our Salvation.