There are some people who mistakenly think that it is wrong for anyone to respond to the gospel, simply for the reward of Heaven. Their belief is that we should do what's right just because it's right, not because of fear of punishment or promise of reward.Ray’s opening statement is false. The people he’s talking about say that it’s morally superior to do right just because it’s right instead of doing right just to receive a reward or to avoid a punishment. Of course, restating what his critics said into what he thinks they said is pretty typical for Ray.
However, such idealism is unrealistic. We are sinners with desperately wicked hearts, and we are incapable of such noble motives. [emphasis mine]In one of the places I’ve worked, the chief of security cited a statistic that one person out of three will steal if he thinks he can get away with it. Ray apparently thinks that statistic is too low, and it should be three out of three.
However, God has "wired" us to respond to rewards and punishments. From the moment we are born, we have the ability to respond positively to a smile and negatively to a frown. We respond positively to incentives. We work towards a wage, run to win the medal, and climb to reach the highest peak. Again, it's our nature to be motivated by these things.
In Ray’s world, no one ever does anything for anyone else without some sort of carrot or stick to motivate them. I’m wondering what I get when I let a car make a turn into my lane on the highway, knowing that I will probably never see that person again, won’t get a reward for letting them in, and won’t receive any sort of punishment if I drive by and leave them to wait. What benefit did I get when I picked up a twenty dollar bill blowing by at a gas station on a windy day, saw who had dropped it, and gave it back when I could have just driven away with no one the wiser?
That's why we have court systems that threaten punishment to lawbreakers. If we violate traffic rules we are punished by a ticket or even imprisonment.The selfish and antisocial will always be with us, but that doesn’t mean that everyone acts solely out of self-interest all the time.
It is therefore evident that it is legitimate for any sane person to respond negatively to the threat of Hell and positively to God's free gift of eternal life.As noted, Ray completely missed the point. While it is legitimate for a sane person to modify his or her behavior to avoid punishment or to gain a reward, it is also legitimate -- and more moral -- for someone to behave in a moral manner just because it’s the right thing to do, without expecting some kind of reward for doing it or punishment for not doing it.