Good works are not required for salvation. Rather, they are evidence of our salvation.
Whether it’s being faithful to our spouse, honest in our business/academic dealings, keeping our thought-life pure, being patient behind a slow-as-Christmas driver, or even attending church…
These “good works,” albeit moral, don’t “get us into heaven.” Further, by God’s standards, there’s no one on planet earth who is “good.” (cf. Romans 3:10-12)
The “older brother” in Jesus’ story of the two sons in Luke 15:11-31 did everything “right” i.e. checked off all his “good works” boxes – and he still was just as lost as his prodigal bother had been.
The Bible is crystal clear: placing our faith in the death of Christ on the cross and in his resurrection “gets us into heaven.” Paul wrote,
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
If even the tiniest “good work” saved us, Christ died for nothing. But, not only did his death mean something, it meant everything. This is what Jesus meant when, from the cross, he cried, “It is finished.”
“It was for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1)
Free from what? Free from tirelessly trying to “check off a list of ‘good works’”, thinking our human effort will make us good enough for God to love us.
Stop trying to be “good enough” for God to love you. This is known as legalism. And it is a crippling form of spiritual bondage.
In the words of author, Philip Yancey,
“There’s nothing you can do to make God love you more, and nothing you can do to make God love you any less.
God’s love for us is fixed, inexorably, because of Christ’s excruciating death and resurrection.
Again, “good works” are not required for salvation. But rather, they are evidence of our salvation.
This is precisely why Jesus said, “If you love me, you’ll do what I’ve told you to do.” (Jn. 14:15) It all begins with our love for, and devotion to, him.
Anyone can fake their love for someone by going through the motions of kindness and goodness using calculated pretense and deception.
We can fool some people some of the time.
But we can never fool God.
Place your faith in the risen Christ. Be free.
The “good works” will supernaturally follow. )
Love to you all, Nick