The arrangement we make with God
By Daryl Neipp
In recent American politics, we have been introduced to the concept of quid pro quo, a Latin phrase which refers to an exchange of goods or services that is offered with a contingency or expectation of receiving something in return.
While this concept may seem new to us in the realm of politics, the reality is we operate under this basic set of assumptions all the time. In fact, I would argue it falls under basic human nature for most of life’s interactions. For example, the car dealer isn’t offering you that “free” cup of coffee merely because he thinks you might be thirsty; rather, he has an agenda in mind—that cup of coffee comes with some strings attached. And this sales mentality runs rampant through all our lives. If we are honest, when we run the thread of actions back to their root motivations, we will discover forms of selfishness: I do x because I will get x in return. If that were not bad enough, we import this line of thinking and this way of life right into our approach to religion as well.
Larry Crabb, in The Pressure’s Off, masterfully describes the quid pro quo arrangement we often make with God. Essentially, there is an A + B = C–type relationship: If you live a certain way, you should get what you want. That’s the bargain: I do A; a good, moral God will respond in kind (B); and I will receive the result I desire (C). For Christians, this could play out in a variety of mentalities: