Although it is hopefully something we do not practice, we are probably all familiar with how bribery works. It has been well reported how some people will try to slip some money to someone else in an attempt to gain preferential treatment. And while bribery may work sometimes, it is not something we should be doing.
Just imagine trying to bribe your teacher to get a better grade. “My friend Mr. Washington thinks I deserve an A.” No self-respecting teacher would change your grade (at least not for a dollar!); instead, the teacher wants you to work harder, study, and earn the A yourself.
Some of us may have been guilty of bribing our parents. You may have never offered them money, but perhaps you did extra chores without being asked. Instead of being motivated by love or appreciation for all your parents did for you, you were thinking, “They will remember this next time I ask for something.” That is a selfish motivation; it is deception disguised as love.
What is even worse than that is when we try to bribe God. I like to ask people why God should let them into heaven, and I usually hear a list of things they do, haven’t done, stopped doing, or do better than other people.
“I go to church every week.”
“I’ve never killed anybody.”
“I quit cussing.”
“I’m not as bad as she is.”
In essence they are bribing God. They are saying, “When I stand before God in judgment, He will remember that I…” But that isn’t how God works.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
If you are making a list of all the things you do, haven’t done, stopped doing, or do better than other people, then you are boasting in your own good works, which are not sufficient to save you. The only way to be saved is by God’s grace (which He extended 2,000 years ago) and your total faith in Jesus, and Jesus alone.
If you already have been saved, then remember that we still can’t bribe God for a better life. Health, promotions, obedient children, and retirement accounts aren’t the result of our good works. Our good works should be out of love and appreciation for what God has already done, not for what we hope He will do.