By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
What is the importance of good works in a Christian’s life? Do our works really matter to God?
We need to distinguish between the value of our good works before we are saved and the value of our good works after we are saved. What is the value of your good works to God before you are a Christian? Zero. Zilch. Nada. Isaiah 64:6 says the best you and I can do before we are saved is like “a filthy garment” to God. Our works are worthless to God. That is why Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” God does not allow us to work for our salvation. If He allowed us to work for our salvation, then salvation would be something He owed us, and God refuses to owe any person anything. Salvation is a measure of God’s grace to us. The value of our good works before we are saved is nothing. We cannot earn our salvation.
However, there is value to our works after our salvation. While our good works are worthless in securing us a place in Heaven, they are integral in determining our experience in Heaven. We are not saved by good works, but look at what Ephesians 2:10 says: “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Before we are saved, our works are sufficient to condemn us before God. But after we are saved, our good works are sufficient to commend us to God. That is why Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:9-10, “We also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” Now, the phrase “good or bad” is an unfortunate translation, because it makes us think that judgment is based on whether they are morally good or morally bad. But that is not what the word means. The word “good” here refers to that which endures, something that is lasting. The word “bad” does not refer to something that is morally bad; it means “worthless.”
The Judgment Seat of Christ does not determine whether we go to Heaven or Hell; that was settled the moment of your salvation. This is a judgment of rewards. And the standard by which you and I as Christians are going to be judged is this: Did we spend our lives on things that are important, things that have eternal consequence–or did we spend our lives on things that were worthless?
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Will Heaven Be The Same For Everyone?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.lockman.org)