Last time I shared some thoughts from Michael Hortin’s excellent book, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical Restless World. I emphasized a call to rely on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and not our own works. But this begs the question, “What role do good works play in the life of a Christian?”
Horton offers the following insight, “Saving faith is not the enemy of good works, but their only possible source” (p. 41). Good works should always be a part of the lives of Christians. We simply need to out them in their proper place. The great reformer Martin Luther said, “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.” Luther meant that we respond to the faith God gives to us with works of service. As Paul wrote in his Letter to the Ephesians,
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10, ESV).
Horton goes on to share more thoughts on works from both Luther and another 16th century reformer, John Calvin,
As Luther said, “God does not need our good works; our neighbor does.” Calvin says the same thing in discussing the exchange of gifts in the body of Christ. “Since our good deeds cannot reach God anyway, he gives us instead other believers unto whom we can do good deeds. The one who wants to love God can do so by loving the believers” (p. 41).
The good news is that we do nothing to earn our salvation. It is a gift of God’s free grace. We are thus free to serve God in response to His grace.
Grace and peace in Christ Jesus,