In part 1 of this series, Is our service pleasing to God?, we examined if our sin and our sinful nature make it impossible for us to ever really please God.
Here in part 2, I get to share with you the good news that, yes, we can please God!
The Bible makes it crystal clear that pleasing God is possible.
The apostle Paul appeals to the Colossians “to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work,” which implies that doing good work that pleases the Lord is possible. Paul also tells the Thessalonians that the way they are living is pleasing to the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:1)
But how do we do this?
Faith Filled Obedience
If we pay attention, the Bible tells us directly what pleases God: faith filled obedience.
- Hebrews 11:5 presents Enoch as a man of faith who pleased God.
- Hebrews 11:6 tells us that that we can please God as we live by faith.
- Hebrews 13:16 tells us that doing good and sharing what we have pleases God.
In Hole in our Holiness, (a book that is providing much correction in my own life), Kevin DeYoung reminds us what the Bible tells us about how to please God:
- present your body as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1)
- welcome and bear with the weak in faith (Romans 14)
- obey your parents (Colossians. 3:20)
- pray for governing authorities (1Timothy 2:1-3)
- keep God’s commandments (1 John 3:22)
We don’t do these things for ourselves and by ourselves; they must be done for God’s glory and with God’s strength. The bottom line is that when we trust and obey, God is pleased.
Our Imperfect Service
Our service to God can never earn our salvation. No amount of our own righteousness can satisfy God’s wrath for our sins – only Christ’s righteousness can do that. It is also true that even my best acts of service done to please God are tainted in some ways by my sin. However, as a follower of Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit, it is possible to grow in righteousness and do good work that God considers righteous.
Kevin DeYoung wrote, “God does not expect our good works to be flawless in order for them to be good…. Our good works are accepted by God, not because they are ‘wholly unblameable and unreproveable in God’s sight,’ but because God is pleased through Christ to accept our sincere obedience, although it contains many weaknesses and imperfections.”
Through Christ, our obedience and our faithful service please God.
Be sure to read the third and final part of this series, Delightfully Pleasing Children of God.