Why Good Works Are Important
By Bob Wilkin
In the last issue we addressed the assertions by some that Grace theology downplays the importance of good works in the believer’s life. We saw seven reasons why this charge is inaccurate. We believe that good works are important: to help others, to avoid God’s discipline, to have abundant life, to gain and maintain God’s approval, to lay up treasure in heaven, to have confidence at the bema, and to rule with Christ forever.
In this issue we add four more reasons why good works, while not required for eternal salvation, are indeed important in the Christian life.
To Express Our Gratitude
“The love of Christ compels us” (2 Cor 5:14). “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).
One of my favorite songs is Andraé Crouch’s My Tribute. A key line is “How can I say thanks for the things You have done for me?” One way we say thanks to God is by doing works that please Him. It is impossible to be walking in willful rebellion against God and at the same time expressing gratitude to Him by means of our works.
To Please God
“We make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him” (2 Cor 5:9). Pleasing God should be the ambition of every believer. And, our works are a vital component of pleasing God (as the next verse, 2 Cor 5:10, makes clear). Good works please God. Bad works displease Him.
To Glorify God
“You were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor 6:20). God designed His creation to bring glory to Himself. Now he allowed free will in humans, so not all that is done currently glorifies Him. However, a day is coming when sin will be no more and all believers will glorify God perfectly. Our aim now should be to please God by producing good works that bring glory to His name.
To Have Well Being
True peace of mind is found in doing good works that please God. God told Cain, “Why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted?” (Gen 4:17). Well being is not found in possessions, fame, and fortune. It is found in knowing that your life is meaningful. And doing works that please God is the only way to have a truly meaningful life.
The Charge Won’t Stick
There are many reasons why good works are important in the life of the believer. The fact that obtaining or maintaining salvation from eternal condemnation is not one of them (Eph 2:8-9) in no way means that Grace theology promotes sin. We in the Grace movement say with Paul, “Certainly not!” (Rom 6:2).