Sunday, November 22, 2009
Trailed by Good Works
Of course good works matter to our Heavenly Father. Many times the charge that those of us who believe teach and confess one is saved apart from works we also state that good works do not matter. These good deeds matter so much that those works follow us into our eternal rest.
Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” ESV
This verse tells us the proper position works are in relation to the Christian. These works do not proceed us into glory but rather follow behind us. This is the position that they should be in life. Rather than looking at these deeds to determine our salvation or how much better a believer we are now than in the past we look to Jesus. In his perfect life, death, burial and resurrection he took care of the laws requirements for us and paid for our sin debt.
Luke 17:7 “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” ESV
Jesus tells us how we are to see our good deeds. We are not to parade them around for others to admire. In addition neither should we lift them to our Master to admire, tell us thank you and reward us for doing our duty. Yes we will be rewarded for the works produced in us by the Holy Spirit but that is a reward in grace not debt.
So what qualifies as a good deed? It can be feeding the poor, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and other such prescribed deeds. In addition, as Jesus mentions, working at our vocations whatever God has supplied to us. In these varied vocations we serve our neighbour and are the means whereby things on earth are done that our Creator wants done.
*Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service as to the Lord, and not to men; knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22
From the small catechism of Martin Luther. Table of duties. Duties? Yes duties. Many believers in Jesus complain about the tedium of daily work whether at home or on the job. Still others moan about unappreciative supervisors and ever increasing goals. And most everyone is concerned about the future because of the hits pensions and other retirement vehicles took recently. Patient endurance in these trials and faithful carrying out of our vocations are recognized by our Father as good deeds. We don’t have to look for invented activities to please our Father. Merely do what is our duty and in Jesus they are good works. Wow!
In the name of Jesus. Amen. †