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How does the gospel message of Christ shape our motivations? People often do the right thing, but for the wrong reason. Or, they do the right thing out of a sense of duty or compulsion. In this message, we see and hear Paul’s appeal to Philemon, that he welcome back Onesimus-not out of compulsion or duty- but out of the goodness of his heart. That is, out of the goodness of God’s grace given to him. When we embrace the radical grace of God, then it changes the way we interact with people. First, we start treating them as individuals created in God’s image, not simply grouping them into categories. Second, we seek to serve people out of love, not out of a sense of duty. And third, we value people and their relationship with us both now and for eternity, not just for some “pie in the sky” notion of heaven.
The gospel changes our motive for obedience because we obey God out of a response of love, knowing we have already been accepted by Him.