Make your own free website on

    We are told over and over in the catechism again that there is nothing we can do to earn our way to heaven. We have learned that Jesus did for us what we could never do for ourselves. We are also told that even our best works or deeds here on earth are like filthy rags in the eyes of God. And again, we have learned that by the active obedience of Jesus God covers our rags and sees everything we do through the blood of Christ-therefore our works become perfect, righteous and holy in God's sight. So the question that always comes up is this-why bother? If Jesus has done it all, why should we as Christians even try to do good works or keep the law of God? The catechism answers this question this way:

    Q.86 Since we are set free by what Christ has done and by nothing we do, why do we have to do good works?
    1. To show God we are thankful for Him saving us.
    2. These works are fruit and assurance that we are saved.
    3. Our good works will show other that we are Christians.

    So there are three very good reasons why we should try to do good works. Let's look at each one and see if we understand what God expects of us.

    1. To show God we are thankful.
    One of the hardest things to do is to fake thankfulness. How many times has your parents made you tell someone thank you, or do a nice deed when you really didn't want to do it at all? Even though you did it, you didn't mean it, and your heart was miles away. This is the danger of being a Christian. Sometimes we do things because we feel we have to(i.e., going to church, reading our Bibles, praying) and not because we want to. But a funny thing happens when the Holy Spirit moves in our lives. The things we use to do because someone made us, are the very things we start to do without anyone telling us to.

    No one has to tell you "Go play with your friends" or "You better watch your favorite tv show today!"-we do these things because we are excited about them, because we enjoy them. Are you excited about God? Do you enjoy being a Christian? If you don't, be honest. This is something you should pray about. Ask God to help you to love Him more. Ask Him to give you the excitement for church and the Bible that you have for other things in your life. But one thing you should ask yourself-am I really thankful for what Jesus has done for me? Do I really believe Jesus died for my sins and without Him I would be going to hell? This is what you should pray for-that God would help you to understand Jesus' death more and more. For the more you understand why He came to die, the more thankful you will be and then good works will come naturally from your heart and life.

    2. By these works the Spirit gives me assurance.
    Good works are one way of us knowing for sure that we are Christians. Yes, we can know all there is to know about God, but is that enough? Isn't there some action required? Read these verses from James:

    James 2:14-20

    Ouch! But James makes some good points. Even the devil believes what we believe about Jesus. But he doesnt act on it. And neither would we unless the Holy Spirit was there to help us. He is the one that nudges and prompts us to do what is right. The scary thing is that sometimes we dont do what He tells us to do-and then we have to pay the consequences. One of these consequences is that we doubt our salvation. We feel like maybe we arent really saved at all. At that point we need to go back to what Jesus has done and trust in Him. But you can see how good works will reassure you of your faith and in the end, make it stronger.

    3. So people will know we are Christians.
    In the early church it was easy to know who was a Christian. They were the ones getting fed to lions or burned like candles! I dont say this to make fun of what happened but to make the point that today it is not so easy to tell who is and who isnt a Christian.

    We talked a couple of weeks ago about how it is impossible to tell a wheat from a tare. But this still doesn't excuse us from good works. It only makes good works that much more important. Ask yourself these questions-are you different than your friends who aren't Christians? If you were to line up with your friends could your teachers tell there was something different about you? Or would she lump you in with everybody else. God calls us to be different, to be set apart from the rest. Look what Jesus says about this:

    Matthew 5:13-16

    Jesus calls us to let our good works be a light in the darkness of the world. This isn't the way that people are going to be saved, through what you do or don't do. But it is a way for you to show your gratitude towards God, be assured of your salvation, and to be a witness to others about what God has done for you. Isn't this a good thing? Isn't this what you want to do even though you might not do it perfectly all the time? If you answered yes, then that is enough. Let the Holy Spirit do the work in and through you. Amen.

    QUESTIONS 1. Give three reasons why we should do good works.
    2. Doesnt the devil believe what we believe? Why isnt he a Christian?
    3. Can your good deeds save someone?

    1999 Pomona Youth Chapel/Pastor Tim Shultz