(Ephesians 4:28) “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”
One of the natural results and proof of “putting on the new man” and “putting off the old man” is we now conform to the morality of God’s law. Even though the ceremonial portions of the Law of Moses do not apply to us in this Dispensation of Grace, the moral laws of God still reflect His nature. “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15) hasn’t changed. In Christ, we do not have the freedom to steal just because we are under grace. In fact, we now have the freedom in Christ to choose not to steal.
The awesome thing about who we are in Christ is our motivations change. Instead of constantly looking out for personal wealth and working hard to create a “lifestyle of the rich and famous,” motivations for working are due to the needs of others. There are plenty of people who lack the basic necessities of life and God gives those of us who are able the ability to help fill those needs. This is the life of God in action. This is God answering the prayers of those who have not. This is the Church in action.
If we are truly motivated by the “new man” we don’t give to the poor in order to gain favor with God or other people. We give because we unconditionally love those around us who are in need. Because Christ unconditionally gave his life for us and because God unconditionally bestows on us “all heavenly blessings in Christ” we are changed into the personification of God’s character. Love is the true motivation now and we become the ambassadors of Christ with the goal of influencing the world by demonstrating the reality of the gospel.
Renewed Thought – Could we solve the problem of poverty in our country if the Church truly served God out of love based on identity in Christ rather than religious obligation and obedience?