Good Works

Archived Posts from this Category

A Faith That Is Not Alone

Posted by on 05 Jul 2011 | Tagged as: Good Works, Tim Keller

Faith Overflowing

[Jesus] gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Titus 2:14

Good works is everything that a believer expresses, achieves, undertakes, performs, or accomplishes because Christ lives in them. Good works cannot achieve right standing before God. However, a faith-filled salvation will produce many good works. Good works are the fruit of salvation, not its cause or basis. Good works flow from Christ’s grace enabling us to pour out costly love for and on behalf of others.

Being right with God is by faith alone, but not by a faith that stands alone. No place exists in the Christian life for claiming a “born from above” experience while displaying no evidence of a changed life. A born-again life is a life that allows Christ to live in and through us dispensing the fruit of the Spirit openly and widely (1 John 4:9).

Good works are described as the fruit of faith. Good works are not produced by the Christian, but good works are borne in the life of the Christian by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). We are fruit-bearers not fruit-producers: enabling grace works out the life of Christ in us.

Good works, or deeds, display to the world the changed heart that Christ has created in us (Matt. 7:15-20). Faith in the finished work of Christ expresses itself in deeds done for God and others. Good works are the fruit of faith, they follow after justification, they are evidence of a changed heart, and therefore, flow from a heart transformed by the Cross.

In the end, Martin Luther’s old formula still sums things up nicely: “We are saved by faith alone [not our works], but not by a faith that remains alone.” Nothing we can do merit God’s grace and favor, we can only believe that he has given it to us in Jesus Christ and receive it by faith. But if we truly believe and trust in the one who sacrificially served us, it changes us into people who sacrificially serve God and our neighbors. If we say “I believe in Jesus” but it doesn’t affect the way we live, the answer is not that now we need to add hard work to our faith so much as that we haven’t truly understood or believed in Jesus at all.

Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God : Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith (New York: Dutton, 2008), 123.

Faith Is God’s Work in Us

Posted by on 24 May 2011 | Tagged as: Faith, Good Works, Justification, Martin Luther

Faith

And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.

Acts 15:8-9

Faith is a response of the heart which receives what God has already done for us in Christ. Faith is relying on God’s character, standing on God’s promises, believing God’s Cross, and obeying God’s Spirit with a certainty that surpasses physical sight and human reasoning. Faith ignores bad circumstances, negative feelings, or discouraging thoughts to stand on God’s word and walk in his ways (Isa. 55:8-9). In short, faith simply believes what God says is true.

True faith passively receives the benefits of Christ’s victory on the cross resulting in active obedience to Christ’s commands and acquiescence to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Saving faith does not involve meriting salvation by human work. However, genuine faith will bear good fruit: an expression of the life of Christ in us. Good deeds are not the foundation of our acceptance with God, but the correct response and fruit of a living relationship with him.

Faith is God’s work in us, that changes us and gives new birth from God. (John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with it. Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this faith.

Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever. He stumbles around and looks for faith and good works, even though he does not know what faith or good works are. Yet he gossips and chatters about faith and good works with many words.

Martin Luther, Martin Luther’s Definition of Faith: An Excerpt, “An Introduction to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans,” Luther’s German Bible of 1522.

 

 

Fruit Bearing vs. Fruit Producing

Posted by on 11 May 2011 | Tagged as: Abiding in Christ, Good Works, Major Ian Thomas

Fruit Bearing Is the Overflow of the Life of Christ in You

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

John 15:8

Fruit bearing is the overflow of the life of Christ dwelling in us. Fruit producing is attempting to live the Christian in our own power. Fruit bearing is the result of faith: fruit producing is striving and struggling. Fruit bearing abides in Christ bringing rest and peace. Fruit producing is rules and self-effort never knowing if one has done enough. Fruit bearing produces good works that last for eternity. Fruit producing is short-lived and only gives the appearance of true Christianity. We are called by Christ to be fruit-bearers not fruit-producers: fruit is borne when we allow enabling grace to work out the life of Christ in us (John 15:1-5; Gal. 5:16-24).

Fruit is not what we do, but who we are; not our activity, but our Christlikeness; not our relationship to people, but the condition of our character. Do you remember what James said in his epistle? “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26). The “spirit” there means breath, and a body without breath is dead. Stop breathing–and folk will bury you! In other words a living breathing body breathes, and a living faith breathes with divine action. A living faith breathes with the activity of Jesus Christ. That is why the Lord Jesus, in John 6:29, said. “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

That is the work of God. It is your living faith in the adequacy of the One who is in you, which releases His divine action through you. It is the kind of activity that the Bible calls “good works,” as opposed to “dead works.”

Major Ian Thomas, The Saving Life of Christ/The Mystery of Godliness (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 25.

The Work of God

Posted by on 05 Dec 2010 | Tagged as: Christ in You, Good Works, Major Ian Thomas

The Work of God Is to Believe

Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.

John 6:29

God never calls us to be adequate, but he always calls us to be available. We can be available to his Holy Spirit by trusting his promises through believing his Word. As we trust him, his Holy Spirit works in and through us touching lives, encouraging faith, and expressing God’s love. This is the work of God: trust the Christ that lives in you to minister the life of God to the people of God for the glory of God.  The overflow of Christ in you is good works and that is New Testament ministry.

That is the work of God. It is your living faith in the adequacy of the One who is in you, which releases His divine action through you. It is the kind of activity that the Bible calls “good works,” as opposed to “dead works.”

“Good works” are those that have their origin in Jesus Christ– whose activity is released through your body, presented to Him as a living sacrifice by a faith that expresses total dependence, as opposed to the Adamic independence (Rom. 12:1-2).

Major Ian Thomas, The Saving Life of Christ/The Mystery of Godliness (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1988), 26.

Abound in Good Works . . .

Posted by on 16 Sep 2010 | Tagged as: God's Grace, Good Works, John Piper, Sanctification

. . . by Trusting Christ’s Enabling Grace.

He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

Titus 2:14 NRSV

Good works cannot produce or achieve right standing before God. However, a faith-filled salvation will produce many good works. Good works are the fruit of salvation, not its cause or basis. Good works flow from Christ’s grace enabling us to say, “yes,” to God and, “no,” to ungodliness.

Justification is by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone. Good works can be described as the fruit of faith. A biblical expectation of redemption is living in a godly manner. There is no place in the Christian life for claiming a “born from above” experience while giving no evidence of a changed life. A changed life is a life that allows Christ to live in and through us (1 John 4:9).

Good works are not produced by the Christian, but good works are borne in the life of the Christian by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). We are fruit-bearers not fruit-producers: enabling grace works out the life of Christ in us.

Good works, or deeds, display to the world the changed heart that Christ has created (Matt. 7:15-20). Faith in the finished work of Christ expresses itself in deeds done for God and others. Therefore, good works are the fruit of faith, they follow after justification, they are evidence of a changed heart, and therefore flow from a life changed by the Cross.

The biblical call to endure in faith and obedience is a call to trust the Christ-purchased, empowering grace of God. God’s grace is first the gift of pardon and imputed righteousness; then it is the gift of power to fight the good fight and to overflow in good deeds. Christ died to purchase both redeeming pardon and transforming power: “[Christ] gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14).

Therefore, all our ability to endure to the end in good works is a gift of grace. This is what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:8: “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” Grace abounds to us so that we may abound in good works. It is our work, yes, but enabled by his grace.

John Piper, The Roots of Endurance (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2002), 27.

Good Works

Posted by on 08 Jun 2010 | Tagged as: Good Works, Keswick Convention, Watchman Nee

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.

Faith Works and Grace Works, Too.

Posted by on 17 Sep 2009 | Tagged as: Evangelical, Faith, God's Grace, Good Works, John Piper, John Stott, Major Ian Thomas, Sanctification

Evangelical Essentials (Part Nine)

Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.

Titus 2:13-14 (NLT)

Although good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow on after justification, can never atone for our sins or face the strict justice of God’s judgment, they are nevertheless pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ and necessarily spring from a true and living faith. Thus a living faith is as plainly known by its good works as a tree is known by its fruit.

Article Twelve,“A Contemporary Version of the 39 Articles of Religion,” available from; www.stjohnsanglican.org/39.doc.

Good Works as the Fruit of Salvation

No works can produce salvation. However, a faith-filled salvation will produce many good works. Good works are the fruit of salvation, not its cause or basis.

It seems that ‘good works’ is a general expression to cover everything a Christian says and does because he is a Christian, every outward and visible manifestation of his Christian faith . . . Rather we are to be ourselves, our true Christian selves, openly living the life described in the beatitudes, and not ashamed of Christ. Then people will see us and our good works, and seeing us will glorify God. For they will inevitably recognize that it is by the grace of God we are, what we are, that ‘our’ light is ‘his’ light, and that our works are his works done in us and through us.

[John Stott, Message of the Sermon on the Mount, John Stott Daily Bible Study Email, August 14th, 2007 (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1985).]

Justification is by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone. Good works can be described as the fruit of faith. An expectation of redemption is living in a godly manner. There is no place in the Christian life for claiming a “born from above” experience while giving no evidence of a changed life. A changed life is life that allows Christ to live His life in and through the believer (1 John 4:9).

This is the rest of faith. You relax, almost like a spectator, except that it is your hands with which He is at work, your lips with which He is speaking, your eyes with which He sees the need, your ears with which He hears the cry, and your heart with which He loves the lost.”

[Major Ian Thomas, The Indwelling Life of Christ: All of Him in All of Me (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2006). 99.]

Good works are not produced by the Christian, but good works are borne in the life of  the Christian by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). We are fruit-bearers not fruit-producers. Grace works out the life of Christ in us.

Saving faith has intrinsic power to produce fruit.

[John Piper, The Pleasures of God (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1991), 244.]

Good works or deeds display to the world the changed heart that Christ has created (Matt. 7:15-20). Faith in the finished work of Christ expresses itself in deeds done for God and others.

Although we cannot be saved by works, we also cannot be saved without them. Good works are not the way of salvation, but its proper and necessary evidence. A faith which does not express itself in works is dead.

[John Stott, Christ the Controversialist (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1970), 127.]

Therefore, good works are the fruit of faith, they follow after justification, they are evidence of a changed heart, and therefore will flow from a life changed by the Cross.