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?
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.
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.
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.
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:
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