Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Good works (Eph. 2:10)

As we think of the idea of works in the Christian life, there are two pitfalls to avoid. The first is that we become proud of our works, which is the peril that Jesus opposes in the Sermon on the Mount when he criticised the attitudes of the Pharisees concerning prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The second danger connected to works is that because we know salvation is not by works we therefore ignore the need for them.

The phrase ’good works’ is a common one in society, where it means being kind to the unfortunate or giving to charity. These acts are helpful, but they can be done by anyone; for example, an immoral person can do them. Paul does not have such an attitude in mind, for the good works to which he refers are done only by Christians, and that because of God’s grace.

Good works, in the Pauline sense, are both the consequence and the evidence of conversion. From God’s point of view or from a theological point of view, they are the inevitable consequence of conversion. From the point of view of other people they are the evidence that God has renewed a particular person.

The key to a proper walk with God is found in our attitudes as well as in our actions. While the picture of ‘walking’ indicates continuation in the path, we must see what it is that gives us the spiritual energy to walk. We need to feed our souls, breathe a pure atmosphere and take regular health checks. We feed on Christ, we spend time in prayer and we engage in self examination. Then all kinds of 'good works' will follow.

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