Good Works Prepared in Advance
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Eph. 2:10 NASB
Good works are the fruit of salvation, not its cause or basis. Justification is by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone. No amount of good works can achieve salvation, however, a faith-filled salvation will produce many good works. Works is a biblical expression to indicate all the righteous actions and virtuous deeds that we perform as a result of Christ living his life in and through us. We are not called to be fruit or works producers, but fruit bearers of the life of Christ in us.
Brothers and sisters, a great mistake is to think that salvation comes to us freely, while victory comes to us as a result of our own effort. We know we cannot trust in any merit or any work of our own for salvation. We simply need to come to the cross and receive the Lord Jesus as our Savior. This is the gospel. While we think that salvation does not require our works, we also think that we should have good works after we are saved. Even though we do not try to be saved through works, we try to overcome through works.
But just as one cannot be saved through good works, one cannot overcome through good works. God says that we cannot have any good works at all. Christ has died for us on the cross, and He is living for us within us. What is of the flesh will always be of the flesh, and God wants nothing that is of the flesh.
We think that salvation is through the Lord Jesus’ death for us on the cross, but that after salvation, we should try our best to do good and hope for the best. But let me ask, “Though you have been saved for years, are you good yet?” Thank and praise the Lord. We cannot do good. We cannot produce any amount of good. Hallelujah! We cannot do any good. Thank and praise Him that victory is a gift from Him; it is something freely given to us!
Watchman Nee, The Life That Wins (New York, Christian Fellowship Publishers, 1986), 34.