Facebook friend shared that born-again believers need NOT attempt to please
God—gain His favour and acceptance—by doing good works. How far is his
statement accurate in light of scriptures?
My take: Obedience is the spontaneous response to God’s grace in the lives of believers. This will result in good works and spiritual fruits.
However, not all works are synonymous with obedience. Works may be done for ostentation or out of ulterior, selfish motives. ***
For believers, is living a life filled with abundant works or spiritual fruits in line with biblical teaching? Yes, if it is done out of obedience and primarily inspired, empowered by the Holy Spirit:
am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears
MUCH fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. By this My Father is glorified,
that you bear MUCH fruit; so you will be My disciples” (John 15: 5,8).
Furthermore, believers who multiply the talents given to them receive the Lord's commendation: “For
to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance” (Parable
of the Talents in Matthew 25:14–30).
When Jesus returns, how will He judge believers? On what basis will He separate the sheep (genuine believers) from the goats (professing believers)? Good works, which are the evidence of salvation (Matthew 25:31-46).
"Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work" (Revelation 22:12).
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
So we must not downplay works; for, all over scriptures, it is seen as something positive.
WITH TAINTED MOTIVES ***
“For we do not market the word of God for profit like so many. On the contrary, we speak with sincerity in Christ, as from God and before God” (2 Corinthians 2:17).
“Be careful not to perform your righteous acts before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to the needy, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men” (Matthew 6: 1-2).
“It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill” (Philippians 1:15).
WHAT IS NEXT?
It is true that we receive God’s grace (salvation) through faith, not works. But, then, what comes next? God is looking for fruit: Changed lives, repentance and obedience, all of which does not nullify at all the grace we receive by faith.
JOY OF OBEDIENCE
With obedience comes joy and fulfillment—but not before dying to self, activation of the gifts God has given us, knowing God’s will for our lives and living it out.
IS GRACE NULLIFIED THROUGH OBEDIENCE TO THE LAW?
To hyper-grace proponents, it seems that the Christian life ends at justification: Now we can relax, we have bought our ticket to heaven, all is safe, we need not do anything as obedience nullifies grace.