Recently, I delivered a message to a group of Christians in their 20s and 30s. I entitled it “Living in the Divine Parenthesis.” Among other things, I tackled the issue of good works and the seasonal nature of a local church.
Ever since I’ve been a Christian, I’ve been taught two different things regarding good works. In my early years as a believer, my spiritual tutors told me that “good works” (also referred to as “good deeds” and “doing good” in the New Testament) was a religious duty and obligation.
Consequently, I (and everyone I knew) viewed good works with a legalistic lens, seeing them as demands that we must fulfill in our own strength and power.
If you want to make God happy, you have to do “good works,” which are the evidence of real faith (so I was told).
Later, I was exposed to another Christian tradition that reacted against this understanding. This tradition taught that good works was anathema. “We’re under grace, so good works isn’t something we have to worry about.” Therefore, those Scriptures that talked about “doing good” were associated with legalism, so we were told to ignore them.
If someone dared to read a text that included the term “good works,” this suggested that they were legalistic.
While I (regrettably) embraced the first kind of teaching, I never bought into the second. Though I knew many people who did.
In this message, I take a look at good works in a way that’s distinct from both views. And I put them in the larger framework of The Missio Dei, God’s grand mission.
If you have an iPod, iPad, or iPhone . . . or the equivalent . . . you can download the audio message and listen to it at your own leisure. (It’s on iTunes on the Christ is ALL podcast, and many other venues.)
Btw/ this is the 53rd episode on the Christ is ALL podcast. You may want to subscribe to receive future episodes.
P.S. The night before I delivered this message, I wrote a new song based on the talk. Click here to listen to a professional recording of the song.