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Do you think you inherit the kingdom of God by serving the Lord? Wrong. The opposite is true. We become God’s children because the Lord serves us: Even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt 20:28). Furthermore:  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part in me” (John 13:5-8).

With this action Jesus shows that He will “cleanse” us of our sins just as water cleanses our bodies. It means that if we don’t allow Him to serve us in such a way, we won’t become part of Him, and we won’t be able to become children of God. Thus, the essence of Christian redemption lies not in our service to God, but in our allowing Him first to serve us. Does this sound crazy? Consider also the following: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me (Rev 3:20). He approaches us, asks us to allow Him into our lives because He wants to turn our lives into a feast, He wants to do something for us. He invites us because He wants to give us rest:Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28). Our heavenly Father longs to treat us to a feast.

We cannot serve God unless we belong to Him, unless we are his children. If I believe that Jesus gave his life on the cross as ransom for me, cleansed me of my sin through his blood, only then can I serve Him. We can thus serve God only after He has served us with his love and grace. In the Bible we are called in various texts to serve God, but for a different reason than that which is sometimes believed: not to be redeemed, but because we have already been redeemed. Let us be thankful, then, because we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please him, with reverence and awe (Heb. 12:28). God is not interested in empty religious deeds but in a loving relationship with Him.

We receive God’s grace as a result of Jesus’ merit. If we try to compensate for our sins by doing good deeds, we forfeit this grace: Those of you who try to be put right with God by obeying the Law have cut yourselves off from Christ. You are outside God’s grace (Gal 5:4).

Jesus paid for our sins. He is with us through the Holy Spirit and serves us every day with his great love and grace.  If we can just grasp something of that, we’ll give our life to Him and serve Him.  Not because we must – but because  we want to.  


Our heavenly Father, thank you that we can share in your love and grace. Therefore we want to serve You joyfully.  Amen.


Gert Berning