Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Evil Good Deed.

Popular teaching again tells us that we can please God with our works. God indeed expects Christians to do good works. God expects all people everywhere to do good deeds. These commands are misunderstood to be ones which can be completed by us. Surely we can do good things for others. However, does God accept those actions as holy?

Isaiah 64: 5 You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways. Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved? 6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.7 There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you;for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities. ESV

The above section speaks not of breaking God’s law but of purposeful good deeds. Things done by persons which society would approve. From time to time one will see or hear reports of individuals which give vast sums of money or time in alleviating suffering. This brings applause of men and perhaps it should. Everyone likes to hear applause and be appreciated. In the civil realm this is all good stuff. But the accolades received by those doing these feeds the ego and disqualify these things as eternal merits before God. Even if those deeds go unnoticed and the only congratulations come from one’s own mind it turns what appears good into a plate full of rotting meat before God.

Although the works of man always appear attractive and good, they are nevertheless likely to be mortal sins. The Heidelberg Disputation of Martin Luther. May 1518

These deeds anger God. He does good deeds for His creation and does so out of care and love not to feel good about Him self. He pronounces those deeds as deserving of punishment when many would expect Him to reward those deeds. Pride and arrogance is the stock and trade of the sinful nature in all of us.

8 But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. ESV

The proper attitude which the Christian will have is humility. Anything we do is not to be looked on in pride but rather thankfulness for the opportunity to serve. The idea to do something comes from God. The resouces with which to do it comes from God. So all praise and glory belongs to Him in the doing. This is impossible to do completely for we are by nature sinful and unclean.

Jesus promised us the Comforter who would lead us into all truth. He also gives us the perfect righteousness of Jesus because we cannot do anything with proper attitudes and motivations. And the guiltiness we all have due to not meeting God’s requirements He bore in His own body on the cross. Yes. Jesus died for our good deeds as well.

Forbid it Lord that I should boast,
Save at the death of Christ my God. †

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