Good works are an important topic in the Bible. Good works are the things that Christians do which reflect their faith and therefore glorify God in the process. Works are a natural by-product of faith and relationship with Christ.
The Bible says:“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“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
- James 2:14-17
James repeats this several times:“You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”
- James 2:24“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
- James 2:25
We see from these verses that we were created to do good works and faith without works is dead.
Good works are also referred to as "fruit" in the Bible. Jesus described it this way:
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit — fruit that will last — and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
- John 15:1-16
We also see that we are going to be judged by our works:“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
- 2 Corinthians 2:10“Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
- 1 Corinthians 3:12-15“'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."”
- Revelation 14:13
Scripture repeatedly states all men, not just unbelievers, will be judged for their works:“For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.”
- Ecclesiastes 12:14And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
- Revelation 22:12
However, the Bible also says that our works are only "good" if they are done for the glory of God. We are clearly not saved by our good works, they just accompany a genuine faith in Christ:“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.
- Ephesians 2:8-9
© Todd Tyszka
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