Good Works And The Christian

Dan Corner

It seems that the only Scripture a Bible believer knows about good works is that we are not saved by them (Eph. 2:8,9)! Sadly, many have further adopted an attitude about good works that they are virtually insignificant. Therefore, this article should be very surprising as it reveals Biblical truths about this important subject. Christians are to let their light shine which means that they are to do good deeds before others, even the unsaved:
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Mat 5:16)

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Pet 2:12)

The early Christians especially helped out Christian widows, who would qualify for the list of widows. Among other qualifications, she would have to have obvious good deeds:
No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds. (1 Tim 5:9,10)
Good deeds (and sins) that are not obvious in this life will be made obvious as they will be brought out at the judgment:
The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not cannot be hidden. (1 Tim 5:24,25)
Rich Christians are commanded to be rich in good deeds:
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim 6:17,18)
Among other general commands for Christians, we are to consider how we can spur other Christians on towards love and good deeds:
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Heb 10:24)

The Christian Life Is To Have Good Deeds

The Christian's life is to have good deeds, even to the point of abounding in them:
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph 2:10)

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Cor 9:8)

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. (Col 1:10)

One of our chief Christian aims is to do good works, which can be done if we cleanse ourselves spiritually:
If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. (2 Tim 2:21)
Furthermore, any man of God is completely equipped for every good work with the Scriptures alone:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16,17)
Jesus gave himself to: (1) redeem a people from all wickedness and (2) purify for himself a people that are his own. Such people are further described as those who are eager to do what is good:
It [grace] teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:12-14)
That word eager means zealous. Dear reader, does that describe YOU?

Faith Without Good Deeds is Dead

The action which MUST accompany faith is (good) deeds or one's faith is dead. That type of faith is not the kind that will save one from Hell. A specific example of a good deed that is cited here is giving clothes and food to a fellow Christian who doesn't have such:
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14-17)
James then counters an apparent objection with the following:
But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that - and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? (James 2:18-20)
James go on to cite the example of Abraham to prove this point. Please note: Abraham was willing to lay down his life's dreams through his miracle born son, Isaac, to obey Almighty God when tested:
Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. (James 2:21-24)
Another similar example was Rahab the prostitute:
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:25,26)
For Rahab to give protection for the spies was the same as risking her life for them. Both Abraham and Rahab are examples of people who had a saving faith, that is a faith that was accompanied by good deeds. Their faith was made complete by what they did. Both ends of the moral gamete are shown with Abraham and Rahab.

Paul, the real grace teacher who fought against legalism, taught Christian woman how to dress and how not to dress. He also added they should (dress themselves) with good deeds, which is appropriate for women who profess to worship God:

I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. (1 Tim 2:9,10)
For a Christian to receive a great reward, they are told to do good to their enemies:
But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. (Luke 6:27-35)

Persist In Doing Good To Get Eternal Life

The Lord Jesus at one place concisely described those who actually enter the kingdom of God as those who have done good:
Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out - those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:28,29)
There are only two possibilities regarding things that one can do - either good or evil. Those that are given eternal life (that is, enter the kingdom) persisted in doing good:
To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (Rom. 2:7-10)
According to true grace, sowing to please the Spirit, which will result in reaping eternal life, boils down to doing good:
The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Gal 6:8-10)
It is possible for any Christian to be prepared to do any good work:
Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness." In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. (2 Tim 2:19-21)
Teachers are especially to set the example by doing what is good:
In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2:7,8)
First-century Christians were to be reminded of certain basic truths, which included doing whatever is good:
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. (Titus 3:1,2)
It is excellent and profitable for everyone for the Christians to devote themselves to doing what is good:
This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. (Titus 3:8)

Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives. (Titus 3:14)

The days of animal sacrifices are over for the Christian, but there are other sacrifices such as doing good:
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Heb 13:16)
Many people consider themselves wise and understanding, but are they really? Notice how good deeds are a consideration in this:
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. (James 3:13)
Good behavior is to be the norm for the Christian, but he might suffer because of such:
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Pet 3:15-17)
Remember: We are NOT saved by "works" (Eph. 2:8,9), but a saving faith in Jesus has plenty of good works with it! Furthermore, a Christian is a slave of righteousness, not a slave of sin anymore! Do NOT be deceived.


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