Jesus calls on me to love. That requires that I do good deeds.
We not only share God’s grace, but we also share His righteousness. Paul did not suggest that we earn righteousness by our good deeds, because the only way to get righteousness is by faith in Jesus the Messiah. However, if our hearts are right, our good deeds will be used by God to make our characters righteous. Grace giving of myself builds a disciple’s character.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. | Philippians 2:12–13
Two words summarize the practicality of the believer’s life: walk and work. The sequence is important: first, wisdom; then walk; then good works. I cannot work for God unless I am walking with Him; but I cannot walk with Him if I am ignorant of His will. The believer who spends time daily in the Word and prayer will know God’s will and be able to walk with Him and work for Him.
Our purpose in life is not to please ourselves, but to please the Master. We should walk worthy of our calling and worthy of the good news, which means we will walk worthy of God. In short, we should walk to please God and accomplish His good work.
It is not we who work for God; it is God who works in us and through us to produce the fruit of His grace. Service is the result of devotion. The work that we do is the outflow of the life that we live. It is by abiding in Jesus that we can produce fruit.
God must make the worker before He can do the good work. God spent thirteen years preparing Joseph for his ministry in Egypt, and eighty years preparing Moses to lead Israel. Jesus spent three years teaching His disciples how to bear fruit; and even the learned Apostle Paul needed a “postgraduate course” in Arabia before he could serve God with effectiveness. A newborn babe can cry and make its presence known, but it cannot work. A new disciple can witness for Jesus and even win others—but he must be taught to walk and learn God’s wisdom before he is placed in an office of responsible ministry.
God’s wisdom reveals God’s will. As we obey God’s will in our walk, we can work for Him and bear fruit. We will not just occasionally serve God; we will be “fruitful in every good work”. But there is a blessed by-product of this experience: “increasing in the knowledge of God”. As we walk with God and work for God, we get to know Him better and better.
As a result of the grace of Jesus, I will have an abundance for every good deed. Now that is some good news!
- 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NASB) —And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
- Acts 9:36 —Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did.
- Philippians 2:12–13 —So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
- Colossians 1:10–12 —So that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Master, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.