Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” - James 2:18
Honestly, it can be difficult sometimes to understand why God wants us to do so many good works if we have been saved by His grace alone. We know doing good deeds is important, but often it falls low on our list of priorities. We focus so much on God’s grace and forgiveness that we often forget to reciprocate what He has given us by sacrificing our time and resources in obedience to Him.
The Bible tells us that our salvation is a gift from God, not something that we can earn on our own. Because of His grace and its impact on our lives, we are compelled to do good works and serve others in order to glorify Him.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. - Ephesians 2:8-10, NLT
When I think about this and question how our faith influences our actions, I think of Abraham.
He was a great (but not perfect) example of how we should live out our faith and show the world that we trust in the Lord’s guidance. Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness, but we could not see his belief without his obedience to God through his actions. God promised Abraham a son that would be his heir and make him the father of many descendants. Since Abraham believed in God’s promise, he was counted as righteous for his belief (Genesis 15:6). However, God was the only one that could truly see Abraham’s belief.
We can only see Abraham’s faith through his actions. When God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, Abraham did just that. He had faith to obey, even when it didn’t make sense. This faith reached the point of Abraham leading Isaac all the way to the place where he would sacrifice him with no back-up plan in mind. When they reached the top of the mountain, God provided a ram to be sacrificed. Abraham’s faith was tested and then perfected when God’s promise to him was kept.
Doing good things and striving for righteousness through our works is not what saves us, but it is what God has planned for us to do after we are saved. Obedience requires sacrifice, energy, and selfless love, but faith in Christ is what encourages and empowers us to do these good works for Him.
Our motivation to do good works is to serve the God we love so much and His beloved children. This may look like serving somewhere in your community when you might just want to have a night in with your roommates. This could also look like committing to giving more to your church instead of spending money on fancy lattes. Whatever your situation is, I encourage you to step out in faith and trust that God will provide when you act in obedience.
1. What ways are you currently serving others around you and living a life of faith? Are there sacrifices you have to make to be obedient?
2. In what ways is God calling you to step out in faith and obedience? How will you respond to this?
Father, Thank You for saving me through grace and not by things that I have done. Help me to remember that You alone are my salvation and have promised great things for me. As I live for You, show me ways that I can be obedient and do good works so that the world might see my faith in You. I love You! Amen.
Want to know more about a relationship with God? CLICK HERE