Above is a rather famous passage that distinguishes Christianity from most other world religions. In everything from Islam to Hinduism, works usually come into play in most beliefs version of salvation. Probably because it just seems to be human nature to think and believe that works or deeds are the way to manufacture righteousness and earn your way into the afterlife. So much so that people try to interject it into Christianity as well. Despite that this passage and others like it refutes our assumptions about the role of works. Even when scripture reveals no amount of work would ever truly be enough.(Galatians 2:16, Luke 18:26,27)
Yet, even for those who know and believe this verse, don’t always understand it completely. There seems to be another opposite extreme assumption about this passage. That since works have nothing to do with salvation, then works cannot possibly have any value at all. Which often becomes an excuse to not serve. That idea is completely ridiculous though. Works, deeds, and service do indeed have much value, just not for salvation. Hence, the reason for this blog entry, I will reveal the value of our works beyond salvation.
All you have to do is read the very next verse in this passage to see that works are not without value.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. -Ephesians 2:10 (As you can see, we do this passage a great disservice by leaving out verse 10.)
The implication being that works play into fulfilling our purpose. Even psychologists are noticing that people who pursue a meaningful life are more satisfied than those who merely seek a happy life. So obviously we can’t truly be fulfilled without fulfilling our purpose, which involves service and works.
Works build up the church - Ephesians 4:11-13
Service is the path to greatness in the eyes of God - Matthew 20:20-28
Deeds demonstrate repentance - Acts 26:20
Service brings blessings - John 12:26, 13:17
Good Deeds serve as an example to non-believers -1 Peter 2:12
Let us not forget that Jesus flat us called us to serve thorough works in John 13:1-17. As he indicated later in verse 14:23-24, to do as he commands is a way we express our love for God. For a true believer; that alone should be enough alone to value works, even if it doesn't bring us salvation.
Works do not save us; we serve through good deeds because we are saved. It is a subtle distinction, but an important one that should not be overlooked.
The Visual PARABLEist
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