By: Norm Rasmussen
Were you aware that every person has two calls on their life from God? The first call is to be saved from their sins. Once they are saved from your sins (saved from having to pay the penalty for their sins, in other words, and suffer in hell for eternity for them), then you are called to do good deeds -- to do good spiritual works.
On the very top of God's priority in our engaging in "good works" is to work diligently at becoming more and more humble, and to keep working diligently (persevere) with God to conquer repetitive strongholds of sin in our life and then keep working with God to diligently say "No!" to temptations to sin as we mature in our relationship with Jesus Christ ... (which by the way I'm STILL working on). "Be holy because I am holy" is not a matter for true Christians to take lightly at ALL. God is very gracious and merciful to new Christians starting out regarding areas of sin in their lives, but as they grow in maturity, God expects much more of them in saying "No!" to temptations to sin. As Christians mature in their relationship with Jesus Christ, compromising with sin can cause the Holy Spirit to desire to depart from us, which then can lead to God turning us over to the hardness of our heart and that is NOT a spiritual place anyone wants to tempt God with if they consider themselves to be wise at all ... for truly - it can GREATLY effect the joy of their eternity ... as in WHERE they may end up spending it.
Satan wants to confuse this very important two-stage spiritual process. He wants people believing they can be saved from their sins by doing "good spiritual deeds -- doing good spiritual works", and part of that confusion is spread through various religious organizations and individual people Satan uses to keep their followers blinded to it.
People do not get saved (forgiven) from their sins by being "good" nor "doing good works," nor do they STAY saved (forgiven) by being "good" nor "doing good works." People are not justified by being "good" nor "doing good works" either, nor are they saved from their sins by being part of some religious organization or "paying penitence" and other such things people believe they must due to be "worthy" of having their sins forgiven. People are saved from the penalty of their sins solely by asking Jesus Christ to forgive them for their sins and BELIEVING (trusting) that Jesus Christ paid full penalty for ALL their sins by His dying on the cross and taking full punishment upon Himself that they each deserved for their sins, and they are justified to receive that loving, tender and merciful forgiveness by BELIEVING as well ... as well as have His righteousnesss - His holiness - freely given to them.
The bedrock of salvation is Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Nor are people (Christians) saved by faith and works. Satan wants people believing they are saved by faith and works, but God does NOT! "Not of works" in Ephesians 2:9 means exactly as it reads.
Thus people are not saved BY being good nor by their good deeds - good works. They are saved with Ephesians 2:8-9 being the qualifier. But people are saved to DO good deeds - good works. It is crucially important to know the difference.
Then what purpose does "doing good works" have? What's the point in engaging in "good works"? Engaging oneself in "good works" is openly demonstrating our appreciation to God for saving us -- openly looking for ways to glorify Him -- and it's the means by which we lay up rewards in heaven.
Good works, however, are a by-product of why we were created in the first place. (To better understand, it may be helpful for you to read: Why Were We Created?)
Listed below are numerous scriptures addressing "good works". Let them speak for themselves:
"You are the light of the
world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp
and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are
in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your
good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works." (Matt. 16:24-27)
"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” (John 14:10-12)
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Cor. 3:11-15)
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Cor. 15:57-58)
So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: "He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever." (2 Cor. 9:7-9)
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. (Colossians 1:9-12)
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:19-21)
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. (Titus 1:16)
Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. (Titus 2:6-8)
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14)
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. (Titus 3:4-8)
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:23-25)
Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:9-12)
Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.' " "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them." (Revelation 14:12-13)
"And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last." Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:12-14)
I have purposely felt to stay focused until now on the issue of becoming saved and staying saved by our on-going trust in what Jesus Christ accomplished for us by taking full punishment for all of our past, present, and future sins. We cannot EARN forgiveness, nor does our "good works" KEEP us forgiven. We receive forgiveness and mercy throughout our life on earth solely by our trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. (Satan doesn't want us believing it's that simple!)
Hopefully making the above truths about "salvation" verses "good works" more clear ... there is another important aspect - a third aspect - of being engaged in "good works" that is probably best explained by readers clicking on the following link: http://www.precious-testimonies.com/Exhortations/k-o/KingdomOfGod.htm
Important summary: We're not saved by grace, then kept by our own works. As soon as you add work to the equation, grace is canceled out. If our behavior could be good enough to keep us saved, it would have been good enough to save us in the first place, and God would not have had to send His Son to die for us.
If you would like to read how God delivered Norm Rasmussen, the founder of Precious Testimonies, from DOUBT that the Holy Bible can be trusted, you can click on the following link: http://www.precious-testimonies.com/Hope_Encouragement/a-e/biblemiracle.htm
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ALL CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED TO DO "GOOD DEEDS - GOOD WORKS" ... BUT THEY AREN'T SAVED FROM THEIR SINS BY THEM