“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” — Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)
“The necessity of works does not diminish the grace of God in our salvation, nor afford us any pretense for boasting. The whole scheme of redemption originated in God’s self-moving mercy. And our spiritual services are acceptable only by Jesus Christ, not by their own intrinsic worth.” That’s a pretty good text-bookie comment made on behalf of todays aforementioned verse of Scripture and I gotta admit to agreeing with it. But wait there’s more, “The mighty preparation which God has made for our recovery from ruin teaches us that the human race is of great importance in the scale of rational beings, and in the scheme of God’s universal government.”
So, when it comes to doing good works there is one very important thing to keep in mind, that if done without faith in Christ, it’s all just stuff to keep ya busy and hopefully outta trouble. Now there are those in Secularland who would and do argue that doing good things for people is a sign of a good person and isn’t that enough to enter into God’s heaven? Eh, maybe in my B.C. (Before Christ) days that might’ve made sense to me but now it’s not something I recommend anyone hanging their hat on. There’s this whole “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matt 7:22b-23) stuff that makes me real nervous for my own self to deal with.
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” — Colossians 3:23-24
Like those folks described in Matthew, there are those of us who will do special things for people thinking that we’re doing this Jesus and sometimes that is true. But for those other times, maybe we oughta check where our heart is, because on that day we may find ourselves hearing, “’I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness”. The main ingredient needed to make all this “works” (maybe a better word is “deeds”) stuff have any heavenly value is having received the free gift of salvation in Christ. Anything less is just doin’ good stuff to look like good stuff.
I’m gonna take a walk out on a limb here with this thought. Just as our heavenly Father will look upon us and see if we’re covered by the blood of The Lamb when it’s our time for judgement, Jesus will cast the very same eye upon our works (or deeds) and see if they’ve been done within the same “anidiotelís agápi” (unconditional love) that drove Him to The Cross, to pay for the debt that we cannot pay, so we can stand, covered by His blood, before a Holy God, when its our time for judgement. Ya see, without having received the free gift of salvation in Christ, everything you say, think and do will be as a filthy rag before El Elyon…none the matter the effort that went into what your deed being done.
If we were to back pedal a short distance to this, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph 2:8-9), we can see the very reason why being careful in which heart we do our deeds is key. Do we do them with a heart that wishes to please God or are they done out of a prideful heart, ya know, the one that say’s “Look upon the good deeds that “I” have done, now please, step aside mere drop of water and allow the ocean to pass as “I” make my way through these pearly gates, down this brightly lit path, and into MY heavenly estate.” Yeah, “I’ bet that person is gonna hear more than a simple, “depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” Sad, but true!
If we are being truly formed, shaped, and molded by our Creator to become Christ-like then, “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart…” (Eph4:17-18). Being in Christ doesn’t mean we’re just sitting around waiting for Him to do stuff. Au Contraire’. We’re required to do what God has laid out for us before the foundation of the world. So, go do some good stuff for the who-ever-they-are and do it heartily for Christ. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.