WHAT ARE THOSE GOOD WORKS
WE MUST BE CAREFUL TO MAINTAIN?
Many people think they are doing good works for God by living austere lives of strict separation from the world. They strictly obey certain, self-imposed rules, or the rules of religious customs and traditions, and think they are maintaining good works. Most people think that outward deeds of morality, outward obedience to the law of God, or outward performance of religious duties are good works. Religious people vainly imagine that good works are measured by the clothes they wear, what they eat or drink, or refuse to eat or drink, and whether or not they attend movies and watch television.
Such works often impress men; but they are not what the Bible calls “good works.” In the Word of God, good works are always associated with serving the needs of men. Good works, in Bible terms, have something to do with love, kindness, patience, and mercy. And good works have certain, specific characteristics. Let me give you just five of them. If that which I do does not have these five characteristics, it is not a good work.
The Will of God
That which is a good work is a work performed according to the command and will of God. That is good which is done in obedience to the Word of God and the direction of his Spirit. If I do something with great diligence, sincerity, self-denial and sacrifice, but do that which God has not required, that which I do is not a good work.
A good work is a work of faith. "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin." "Without faith it is impossible to please God." This was the real difference between Cain's work and Abel's. Cain offered God a sacrifice without faith. Abel offered God a sacrifice of faith. Abel trusted Christ and Cain did not trust Christ. Abel and his sacrifice were accepted for Christ’s sake.
The Glory of God
A good work is anything a believer does for the glory of God. "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." The Pharisees prayed, fasted, tithed and gave alms to be seen of men, to get glory from men. Everything they did was an abomination to God. All good works are the fruits of righteousness, done "by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God.”
Motivated by Love
Good works from and are motivated by love for Christ (John 14:15; 2 Cor. 5:14; 1 Tim. 1:5). That which is done to be seen of men, for fear of punishment, or with a desire for gain is an abomination to God, no matter how good it appears to men. Love for Christ is the essence of obedience and the motive of all good works.
It must be performed with a willing heart (2 Cor. 8:12). There must first be a willing heart. If that which I do for my brethren, my family, the furtherance of the gospel and the honor of Christ does not arise from a willing heart, without constraint of law or compulsion of fear, it is only evil and not good. It is not the work itself which God honors, for that is marred by sin, but the heart of faith, gratitude, and faith.
Grace Baptist Church of Danville - Grace For Today Radio Message #846
2734 Old Stanford Road - Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor -Telephone 859-236-8235 - Email firstname.lastname@example.org