The Bible clearly states that Christians are to
do good works. Jesus taught it saying, "Let your light
so shine before men, that they may see your good works and
glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16 ). Paul
told the church at Ephesus, "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). He instructed Titus about good works several times.
Speaking of Christ, Paul said, "who gave Himself for us,
that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for
Himself His own special people, zealous for good works." (Titus
2:14). Later he said, "This is a faithful saying, and
these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who
have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.
These things are good and profitable to men." (3:8).
The Hebrew writer wrote in Hebrews 10:24, "And let us
consider one another in order to stir up love and good
works,". Even Peter wrote, "having your conduct
honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you
as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe,
glorify God in the day of visitation." (1 Peter 2:12).
There are many other passages, but these tell us outright, that
as Christians, good works are to be a part of our lives.
But, what does it mean to do good works? Simply
stated, good works are doing things that are pleasing to God,
both physically and spiritually. There are two types of good
works that we should be concerned about, physical and spiritual.
Physical works involve doing things for
others in this life. This is the sense that we traditionally
think of when we talk about good works. They include giving to
charities, helping others (especially our brethren - Galatians
6:10), and anything we might do to improve our environment
whether it be family, community, our work, etc. Such works
should be a part of the Christian’s life. James 2:15-16 speaks
of professing to have faith, but failing to show it by action.
The example is given of a brother or sister naked and destitute
and you say, ‘Be warmed and filled’ and then send them on
their way with nothing, what profit has it been? Jesus,
portraying the judgment scene in Matthew 25, speaks of us being
judged by the good works that we have done (25:34-45). Solomon
wrote of this type of work in Proverbs 3:27-28, saying, "Do
not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in
the power of your hand to do so. Do not say to your neighbor,
‘Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it,’ when you
have it with you." Paul said is Gal.6:10, "Therefore,
as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to
those who are of the household of faith." Note in these
last two texts, that doing such works is based upon our
abilities. And that is the nature of physical works: While they
certainly are important, they are discretional and based upon
opportunities, abilities and even our judgment.
Spiritual works involve things that
contribute to your relationship with God and your eternal
salvation. They include, obeying the gospel, continued spiritual
growth, looking for opportunities to teach the gospel to others,
condemning error and defending the truth at all times. Spiritual
good works demand immediate attention and are more clearly
defined. Hebrews 3:13 says, "Beware...but exhort
one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest
any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."
Jude wrote, "but others save with fear, pulling them out
of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh."
(v.23) Paul spoke of his teaching others saying,
"Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade
men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well
known in your consciences" (2 Corinthians 5:11). Note
the urgency associated with such verses. Why? Because of the
seriousness of the works dealt with. Neglecting this type of
work will put souls in jeopardy. That is why they must be acted
upon right now.
The Christian’s life must
be filled with good works, both physical and spiritual. What
about your life? Is it filled with good works as it ought to be?
Have you responded to one of the most important good works you
will ever do, obeying the gospel? If not, let me encourage you
to do so today.