Whilst most of us will readily acknowledge that good works (not even one small good work) can contribute in the slightest way whatsoever to being saved, it can be easy to somehow fall into the trap of believing that a certain amount of good works need to be accomplished in order to maintain salvation. I have frequently been guilty of falling into the trap of thinking, “I’m not doing enough for God”. I then start in striving in my own strength to do as many good works as possible, and still feel it’s never enough. If it was the case that salvation had to be maintained by good works, then surely God would have given a clear indication of how many good works would be needed to ‘qualify’, but there is no such indication in the Bible. Also, there would have to be some sort of pass mark, as in an exam, to know whether or not the target had been reached. This would enable us to live life knowing we had not fallen short of the ‘bench mark’ by even one good deed.
A constant striving generally results in a sense of failure, guilt, condemnation and exhaustion, plus a feeling of never having done enough, especially seeing others, even those who profess no Christian faith, accomplishing far more. Many, who would admit they have no Christian faith, or adhere to some other religious beliefs, do some amazing and very commendable acts of kindness for others. However, the truth remains that no-one, regardless of their beliefs can be saved by doing good works. This is very apparent in God`s word. The death of Jesus upon the cross to pay the price for the sin of all mankind would have been totally unnecessary, if entry to heaven could be attained by human effort.
Galatians 3:3 is a clear reminder to rely on the Holy Spirit. “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to achieve your goal by human effort?” It is certainly right to do good works as a result of being saved (see James 2:14-24), but never in an attempt to earn salvation or extra ‘brownie points’ with God. Good deeds are to be carried out with a right motive and a sincere desire to please God, and not out of a sense of duty or to make ourselves feel good, or to look good to others. God, alone, sees the true motivation behind everything we do.
God loves the person who achieves great things for Him, such as an evangelist who leads thousands into the Kingdom of God, but He equally loves those who achieve what may be considered less noticeable things for Him. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
One day I noticed something significant when I was reading 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. It is the quality of our work that is tested, not the quantity). It is not a competition with others to see who can achieve the most. The parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew Chapter 20) shows that the workers who began their work at the end of the day received the same reward as those who had worked hard all day long. The thief on the cross next to Jesus had no opportunity to do any good works, yet he was saved shortly before he died (see Luke 23:40-43).
If you have never done so, now is the best time to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus, acknowledging He died for you then receiving, by faith, personal forgiveness for your sin.
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that You love me for who I am and not because of what I do or how many good works I can manage to accomplish. I want to know You as my personal Lord and Saviour. I acknowledge my sin and ask You to forgive me. Help me to serve You by helping those in need with a humble and sincere heart. I do not want to be self-righteous or seek attention from others. Thank You that Your grace is more than enough to save me. Not even one tiny good work can earn me salvation. Please forgive me for so often striving to please You in my own strength, instead of trusting in the power of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.
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