Acts 26.20 simplifies the gospel to the Gentiles: that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds consistent with repentance. So what does God want from us?
The Apostle Paul says three things are expected: repent, turn to God and perform good deeds. This is a much better message than we have heard from the televangelist or the people who knock on our doors with religious information.
The message from the Church to the Gentile over the past 50 or so years has been that God wants people to believe in Him and by believing in Him they will be saved.
Some ask, saved from what? Saved from the consequences associated with disobeying God at the judgement to come. If God only wanted believers then nearly every human being is right with God since almost everyone believes in God. Increasingly people are claiming to be atheists but at their core, when faced with death, they too look up in hope and wonder if God really exists.
The enemy of God believes in God so if belief is all God is after then even the devil himself will live with God and His people in heaven now and on the new earth to come. Yet believing in God without having to do something else makes God seem less than God which is probably why so many ‘believers’ have so little passion for God and His work.
While the Bible makes clear humanity cannot earn their way to heaven it also makes clear that humanity will be judged by the things they do, the words they speak and the attitudes of their heart. This judgement will be based upon God’s will as recorded in the Bible. God recorded His will and His work so that we are without excuse on that day when we meet Him to claim ignorance of Him.
What God wants from us is not too hard for us but does require us to humble ourselves and lose our self-centered lifestyle.
First, we must repent. This simply means go the other way from our previous path. We are born self-absorbed and self-obsessed so we do whatever is right in our own eyes. We are made by God for God so He expects us to do that which pleases Him. If this isn’t our chief purpose in life then we need to repent.
Second, we must turn to God. The thing God wants us most to do is love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. How do we love someone? Be with them and do things that please them. This isn’t complicated. We hang with God when we read the Bible, think about its application to our lives, and pray. We are with God when we are with the people of God worshiping God. We are with God when we are serving the needs of others. It isn’t hard to be with God but it does require us to leave ourselves.
Finally, we are to look like people who love God by doing the things that Jesus did. When God lived among us He lived as a servant, helping people to know God better. The deeds God most seeks from us are those works that help people see, feel, and hear God better so that they too can come to know Him.
Again, not that complicated but we cannot be selfish and serving at the same time. If we want to gain our lives for eternity we have to lose our lives temporarily by placing God and others before ourselves.