Good Deeds

Over the holidays I read the book of Titus wherein Paul stresses the importance of Christians performing good deeds.

First he described deceived people who “profess to know God but by their deeds they deny Him“. In other words they talk about God and say they know Him but if you look at what they do, their actions nullify their words. They don’t know Him.

Then he says of the same people, “they are disobedient and worthless for any good deed.” They did not follow the commands of Jesus and the apostles; therefore, they practiced lawlessness.

With this backdrop, he gives instructions about Christian ethics:

  • …show yourself to be an example of good deeds. Titus 2:7
  • … be zealous for good deeds. Titus 2:14
  • ….to be ready for every good deed Titus 3:1
  • ….so that those who have believed God may be careful to engage in good deeds Titus 3:8
  • let our people also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs that they may not be unfruitful. Titus 3:14

Why is Paul, the former persecutor of the Jewish Christians, stressing this point so strongly? It is because he knew Jesus had said the following:

“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” Matthew 5:18

The evidence of a Christian life is a changed life. We are not the same sinful person we were before we came to know Christ as Savior. We are not perfect but are being morally changed by His word and His Spirit resulting in new behavior. We go from bearing evil fruit to bearing good fruit that honors, magnifies; hence, glorifies our Father in heaven.

James also makes the point about good deeds but from another point of view:

[14] What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? [15] If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, [16] and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? [17] Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. … James 2:14-17

The deceived people are individuals who profess to know God (i.e. have faith) but by their deeds they deny Him (i.e. have no good works). James says their “faith” is dead. It is not saving faith.

In closing, I want to make it very plain that good deeds or good works have NOTHING to do with earning salvation. Salvation is a free gift from God based on the finished work Christ did on the Cross for us. Paul writes:

[8] For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; [9] not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. [10] For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. …

The good works that have value follow our salvation, not earn for us salvation. Many people and even whole religious systems have this important point reversed. They are trying to earn their way to God but it will never work.

May we Christians validate the words of faith that have flowed from our lips by bearing much fruit to the glory of God the Father.

May they who do not know Christ, read the New Testament and discover the Wonderful Savior who died and was resurrected for them. May they enter the narrow way that leads to Life.

May your good deeds be multiplied!


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