ATP Blog 32
Witness #2 Works
So many people get so caught up in good works that they forget why they are doing them. Does it make you feel good? Does it earn you something, like a reward? Do you think that you are earning points with God? The Bible clearly states that our works will be judged (Ecclesiastes 12:14; 2 Corinthians 5:10) by fire to see their value; 1 Corinthians 3:13 states, “Each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.” In a previous verse, Paul explains that works not built on the foundation of Jesus Christ will burn up!
Good Works So, what makes what we do for others ‘good works’? Ephesians 2:10 tells us that the good ones are prepared by God for us to do, at least those of us who are genuine Christians. So if you are doing a good work given to you by God to do, then it will pass the test of fire. 1 John 2:17 explains that good works are those that follow the will of God for us. Solomon teaches (Ecclesiastes 9:10) that good works are those that are done with full energy and enthusiasm, as in not half-heartedly. James 2:14-26 explains that good works are dead when they are not paired with true faith, and that faith without good works is also dead; the good works we do are a demonstration or witness of our faith. Titus 2 and 3 explain that good works are a habit that must be maintained to be righteous before God. It is an act of obedience (James 1:22) that meets the needs of others (Titus 3:14).
Witnessing Works So, what do ‘good works’ do for us? One of the signs that works are good, is that they bear witness to our faith; they demonstrate that we believe what we say we believe—that we practice what we preach. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:16), Jesus states that our good works shine a light to those around us, that gives glory to God in Heaven. Later, in Colossians (3:23-24), Paul teaches that our work (all that we do) must be done for God, in service to Jesus Christ. When that is the case, the focus becomes on Him rather than on us. So, in essence, the works we do bear witness to what God is doing in and through us, which brings Him glory. They do not save us, but demonstrate that we are saved (Galatians 2:16).
Jesus’ Works John 5:36 tells us that the works that Jesus did were a greater witness than John the Baptist that He was who He said He was: the Son of God, the Messiah, God in the flesh. Notice that Jesus stated three important things. First, the works were given to Him by God to do (same as with us who are true Christians). Secondly, the things He did were of greater value than that which others said about Him, such as John the Baptist. They gave greater evidence of His identity and God’s glory. Third, those actions bore witness that God had sent Jesus Christ, just as your works bear witness that God has sent you!
Questioning Works You then need to ask yourself three questions when preparing to do good works: (1) Who wants me to do this good work? If it is God, then do it with enthusiasm, and for His glory. (2) Why am I to do this good work? The primary purposes must be obedience to God, to glorify God, and to testify regarding your faith; meeting a need is an important, but secondary reason for doing good works. (3) How should I do this good work? All that we do must be done as if for God, even though we are helping people, and thus must be done with the right attitude and effort. Also, to properly glorify God, we must not seek credit or reward for the good work. Doing so invalidates it (Matthew 6:1)! Our main motive for works must be our love for God, and desire to serve Him.