I am still studying James 2 in the Mama’s Refill devotional website that I use for my personal devotions.
The last two days have spent time diving into James 2:17 which says:
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
According to this verse, we know that works show that we have faith; that if we are not demonstrating our faith by our works, then we have a dead faith. But we also know that we do not work for our salvation. We are saved by grace alone; yet here God says we should have a working faith.
So the question is, “Why do we do good works?”
Pam Forster had us go to the Blue Letter Bible and use the tools there to do an inductive Bible study just on this one verse. I love this explanation of what makes good works “good” from the Easton’s Bible Dictionary:
Works are “good” only when,
(1) they spring from the principle of love to God. The moral character of an act is determined by the moral principle that prompts it. Faith and love in the heart are the essential elements of all true obedience. Hence good works only spring from a believing heart, can only be wrought by one reconciled to God (Eph 2:10; Jam 2:18:22).
(2.) Good works have the glory of God as their object; and
(3) they have the revealed will of God as their only rule (Deu 12:32; Rev 22:18,19).
Good works are an expression of gratitude in the believer’s heart (Jhn 14:15,23; Gal 5:6). They are the fruits of the Spirit (Tts 2:10-12), and thus spring from grace, which they illustrate and strengthen in the heart.
Good works of the most sincere believers are all imperfect, yet like their persons they are accepted through the mediation of Jesus Christ (Col 3:17), and so are rewarded; they have no merit intrinsically, but are rewarded wholly of grace.
Here is what I then wrote in my own words about why I do good works as a saved believer:
The only thing that makes any work that I do “good” is when I do it because the goodness of God prompts and empowers me to do it for His glory. (John 15:8) His love and grace enables me to do good and He can use my imperfections to do good for the good of His name. How He can work my though imperfect being and bring His ultimate will to come to pass is a miracle. Only He could make such wonderful happenings come out of human mortals.
Here were some more reflections I had on why we should do good works as true believers:
- Our good works demonstrate that we love Him.
I feel it is easier to be a normal human being that does not have many talents as I know it is God who works when any good thing happens. The uber talented person might rest on what they think they can do in their own power, but all must realize that we are not good in ourselves. When we depend and trust in our good God and seek to please Him, He can use us for His good. Any goodness that comes from us is ultimately from Him and should be our response of love to Him.
- Our good works are an act of obedience to Him.
Not only do we do good works as response of love to Him, but also out of obedience. He gives us His good gifts so that we can use them for Him. We see in Matthew 25 the parable of the talents. Here the lord or master gives three servants some money (or talents). To one servant, he gives 5 talents. To another servant, he gives 2 talents, and to the third servant, he gives one talent. The first two servants go and do good works with their talents. They invest it and make more. The third servant takes what the lord has given him and buries it. He does nothing with it! The lord comes back and is angry with the third servant. He takes away the talent and gives it to the first servant. I always wondered at the “harshness” of this parable as the man didn’t lose the talent; he just did nothing with it. However, as we realize that it is a picture of us using the talents God has give us, it makes sense. God has given us talents to be used for good works for Him. He doesn’t want us to be dead — doing nothing. We should work, obeying what He has told us to do; using what He has given us, to bring forth more souls for His kingdom. He wants us to be His faithful servants that will work until He returns to take us home to heaven.
What I also find amazing is God’s response to our good works.
We do good works as a response to God. We love Him! He saved us, and so we want to serve Him. That should be the end of the story. But it is not! In response to our good works, God rewards us more! We already have the ultimate reward: a home in heaven for all eternity, but God decides to lavish even more on those who obey and honor Him with their actions. Look at these verses:
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. Hebrews 6:10
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. James 1:25
What is your viewpoint of works in your Christian walk with God?
Do you obey and perform good works out of duty, or is it an instinctive and joyful response to God’s love for you?
Here is the great secret of success. Work with all your might; but trust not in the least in your work. Pray with all your might for the blessing of God; but work, at the same time, with all diligence, with all patience, with all perseverance. Pray then, and work. Work and pray. And still again pray, and then work. And so on all the days of your life. The result will surely be, abundant blessing. – George Muller
A few of my favorite posts from last week includes:
- Four Things We Can Do To Fight Back Against Violence and Evil from Lisa Murray
- Help Your Teen/Tween Develop Self-Esteem the RIGHT Way from Navigating the Years
- A Grateful Heart from Happy Gentle Homestead
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