Have you ever been grocery shopping for your evening meal and had someone come to mind and you thought, Hmmm. I need to make an extra pan and take it over them. Maybe you knew what was going on with them, maybe you didn’t. But when you delivered dinner, you were met with surprise and deep gratitude.
Maybe you were gathering gear to get out the door and the Lord prompted you to call Mary and offer to take her daughter with you. So you did and find out that they were in crisis mode. Your taking their daughter with you relieved some pressure for them.
Maybe you hung around after church one day and helped the cleanup crew.
These are examples of doing good works. When we belong to Christ, this is the way we live. We a see a need, and we fill it. It is the evidence of our faith.
Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:16)
Some people, however, look for good things to do because they think that is how they are saved. They think more good deeds can tip the scale in their favor.
But that is not how we receive salvation. We are saved by grace through faith. Period. There is nothing we can do to add to our salvation. Christ did it all on the cross. Paul told the Ephesian church:
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Since we can’t add anything to our faith, some wonder why we should bother with doing good things at all?
But you see, doing good things is one way that the world knows we do belong to Jesus. It’s not what saves us, it’s the evidence of God’s work in our lives.
Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? … Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. (James 2:20, 26)
Want to know what’s even more beautiful? When Paul said we are saved by grace, he also said that God created us to do good things that He planned for us to do a long time ago.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10)
What are some of the good works God planned for us to do?
- Providing food and clothing to those in need shows that our faith is genuine (James 2:14-15).
- Looking after the sick and visiting those in prison (Matthew 25:35-36).
- We should be generous and willing to share (1 Timothy 6:18).
Any time we see an opportunity to do something for someone else and we do it, we are serving Christ. What good is our faith if we don’t to good things? Faith without good works is useless.When we see an opportunity to do something for someone else and we do it, we are serving Christ.
Then these righteous ones will reply, “Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?” And the King will say, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” (Matthew 25:37-40)
Be ready to serve! Be ready to give. Follow Jesus’ example of servanthood. Not because you are looking to add to your salvation, but because your good deeds prove your faith!