The Bible is clear when it says that we will not be saved by good works alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). Before a person is born again, all his righteous acts are nothing but filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). No matter what the person thinks about his works, those who are acting in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.). According to Romans 3:20, no one is declared righteous in God’s sight by their works. However, God is merciful and gracious, and He designed a way for us human beings to be declared righteous. A righteous person is one who does good works and delights in doing God’s will.
God wants His people to bear good fruit. Good works do not equate to salvation, but good works are proof that we are indeed saved. This is because Christians have inherited the righteousness of Christ. In Christ, we have become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.). Jesus said in John 15:5 that He is the vine and that we are the branches. If we remain in Jesus and He in us, then we will bear much fruit. What are these fruits? Good works! If Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, then the fruits or produce of Jesus should also be our produce. We all know that Jesus is the epitome of goodness, since there is no sin in Him (1 Peter 2:22 He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.).
The Importance of Good Works
Christians are not saved by doing good works, but Christians should demonstrate good works. Doing good works is inevitable in the life of a Christian. It is the result of being “born again”. The question is, what constitutes good works? The world of today has defined “good” badly. People suggest that we need to be more tolerant and accepting to be good. For unbelievers, being good is when you don’t share your belief and simply let the world be as it is. You’ve heard songs and phrases saying, “Love yourself, you are born that way”, “Do whatever you want, you only live once,” “Women have rights to abort their child”, “Same-sex marriage should be legalized everywhere” and more. Unbelievers think that these things are good, but according to what standards?
Our good works should be grounded in the will and commandments of the One True God. True “good works” mean doing what God wants us to do. It means copying what Jesus did and sharing the good news. If we want to know what constitutes good works, we need to be familiar with the Bible. Christians have standards when it comes to doing good works and that standard is established by the Bible. Bear in mind that the more we read and study the Word of God, the more we increase our Knowledge of Him; the more we know Him, the more we understand what is truly “good”.
No to Antinomianism
Unfortunately, there are people out there who believe in antinomianism. The word comes from two Greek words that mean anti, which means against; and nomos, which means “law”. Basically, antinomianism means “against the law”. Antinomianism is a belief wherein Christians don’t need to follow God’s moral laws. This belief suggests that God does not expect us to follow moral laws nor require us to do good works. This belief is a lie from the enemy and is utterly unbiblical. Biblically speaking, Christians are not required to observe the laws as a means of salvation, because Jesus already fulfilled all the laws found in the Old Testament (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23-25; and Ephesians 2:15). However, it is still important that we obey Jesus’ commandments if we truly love Him (John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands.).
Paul dealt with this specific issue. The apostle said in Romans 6:1-2 (ESV), “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Although we are saved by grace through faith alone, it doesn’t mean that we can continue sinning. Rather, we need to do good works, righteous works that are desirable and pleasing in the sight of the Lord Jesus.
Christ is the Root of Good Works
The Holy Spirit moves into Christians’ repentant hearts (Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.). Jesus has now become our King and the one who sits on the throne of our hearts and mind. We are now heading in the direction where He wants us to go, which means doing good works. We have become God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do “good works”, which God prepared in advance for us to do Ephesians 2:10 (ESV). When God saved us, He not only rescued us from His wrath and hell, but He also helped us become more and more like Christ. God wants us to reflect the character and goodness of Christ, and He wants us to project this goodness to the world.
We are sharing goodness with the world when we share Christ. Proclaiming the Gospel of Christ is one way of glorifying God. As Christians, we are prompted by the Holy Spirit to do everything that God told us to do, and we need to bear the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Jesus Christ is the root of our fruits and these fruits are good works. Without faith in Christ, it is impossible to do genuine good works. Without faith in Christ, what seems to be good works are nothing but filthy rags. That being said, remember that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26).