The Christian and Good Works: They Really Matter

Apparently, and I do not know all the details, there is a great deal of debate about the role of the law in the Christian life. Not knowing precisely what the issue is, I do not want to discuss that. Perhaps it is all a matter of emphasis than real difference anyhow.

What should be abundantly clear to anyone reading the New Testament is that good works matter. The fact that they are not necessary for salvation does not deny their importance. Two passages, both written by Paul, highlight their importance.

Ephesians 2:8–10 (HCSB) 8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

Paul says clearly that our salvation is not from works. However, once saved, there is clearly an expectation that good works will follow as a result of God’s saving work in our lives. This expectation is clear as Paul concludes his letter to Titus.

Titus 3:12–14 (HCSB) 12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me in Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey, so that they will lack nothing. 14 And our people must also learn to devote themselves to good works for cases of urgent need, so that they will not be unfruitful.

Paul says “our people”, Christians, must be devoted to good works. In this case, the good work he has in mind is making sure the Zenas and Apollos are able to make their trip. What is generally applicable from this verse is that Christians should seek to meet the urgent needs that are around them.

There are a number of other passages that I could refer to explaining the importance of good works in the Christian life. While we are saved by grace alone, our lives from that point forward are to be marked by good works that flow from God’s saving work in our lives. In the Christian life, good works matter.

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Author: RLJ

Hi. My name is Randy Jackson. I hope what I write helps you to grow in your relationship with God and to think more deeply about the things of God.

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