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Bible Dictionaries

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Good Works

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Salvation from sin and condemnation comes not by human good works but by divine grace, and people receive this salvation through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7). No good deeds that people do can remove their sin, cancel its penalty, or make them acceptable to God (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:20; Romans 8:7-8; Romans 9:31-32). God forgives sin and declares people righteous solely on the basis of what Christ has done on their behalf (Romans 3:23-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; see JUSTIFICATION). Once they have been saved, however, God’s will is that they do good works. In fact, this is one purpose for which God saved them (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:14).

Christians will be equipped to carry out these good works as they learn more of the nature and purposes of God through the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 3:18). Such good works will be of benefit to themselves as well as to others, and will be the means of bringing praise to God (Matthew 5:16; Titus 2:7; Titus 3:8; 1 Peter 2:12). They are one of the proofs of genuine faith (James 2:18), and arise from love and gratitude to God because of his free salvation (1 Thessalonians 1:3; Hebrews 6:10).

Good works are no cause for pride. They are, after all, part of the Christian’s duty (Luke 17:10). Nevertheless, Christians must carry out their good works not in a hard or legalistic spirit, but in an attitude of genuine love for others and with a clear conscience. They should be concerned with bringing praise to God, not to themselves (Romans 13:8-10; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Hebrews 13:18).

In the day of judgment God will test the works, good or otherwise, of all Christians. Those they have done out of selfishness or pride will bring no lasting benefit; those they have done for God’s sake and according to his standards will bring an eternal reward (Matthew 6:1; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 22:12; see JUDGMENT; REWARD).


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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Good Works'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/bbd/g/good-works.html. 2004.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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