Our problems arise largely because we don’t continually return to the gospel to work it in and live it out…’Wait,’ I have heard people object. ‘You mean that in order to grow in Christ, you keep telling yourself how graciously loved and accepted you are?…Maybe the motivation of religion was negative, but at least it was effective! You knew you had to obey God because if you didn’t, he wouldn’t answer your prayers or take you to heaven’…But if, when you have lost all fear of punishment you also have lost incentive to live an obedient life, then what was your motivation in the first place? It could only have been fear. What other incentive is there? Awed, grateful love.
–Tim Keller, The Prodigal God, pp. 134-135