When you were born again it was a gift of grace from the Lord Himself and not received or accomplished by any thing that you had done or “not of works lest any man should boast”. (Ephesians 2:8-9). We all know that. This is the basic message of the born again Church of Jesus Christ, The message Martin Luther rediscovered which led to the Protestant Reformation.
But Ephesians 2:10 goes on to say – now that we are saved “by grace through faith” that there are some good works that the Lord would have each born again believer involved in. Not saved by “good works” but certainly involved in them afterwards.
However, I fear that the born again Church is slowly slidding away from the intended good works. We are becoming involved in social justice issues and other societal reform movements. The other day I read that David Ruis is now living in California and deeply involved in social justice issues. Just one of many examples I could quote where powerful evangelical leaders are becoming involved in social justice issues.
The problem is – I don’t see Jesus getting involved in the social justice issues of His times – foreign occupation of the Holy Land, slavery, mistreatment of women, demonstrations against war. No, He came to seek and save the lost. And, even His miracles, signs and wonders were not ends in themselves but rather means to this end – that people would be seriously touched by the transforming power of the Living God and so then come to the Father for salvation. The “good works” were a calling card or a vehicle to help people towards the desired end or goal – salvation – a personal relationship with the Living God (Romans 6:23b and John 17:3).
Ephesians 2:10 states we are called to good works. The passage in Matthew 5:14-16 about being a light to the world states that as we do “good works” we will be that light and people will glorify the Father. The good works are the beacon to draw others to the Father. Titua 3:1, 8 talk of being devted to or zealous of good works. But, these good works are not social justice issues. They do not involve helping an old man across the street, giving to the poor, caring for the orphans and widows, feeding the hungry – these are, according to Matthew 6:1-2 “acts of righteousness” and can, of course, be done by Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Muslims, Buddists, humanists and even athiests.
There is only one kind of good works that born again believers can do that these others cannot do – supernatural works done by the power of the Holy Spirit. Miracles, signs and wonders. The gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:1-11) flowing through us and transforming the lives of those who do not yet know Jesus personally as they should and must. This was and is the purpose of the Holy Spirit baptism – to empower us to be His witnesses and do these biblical “good works”.
All the other things that the Church is being sidetracted by – the “acts of righteousness” – are well and good and, I am sure, most helpful. But they are not biblical “good works”. Biblical good works are believers doing supernatural deeds that bring glory to the Father. Good deeds are doing like Jesus did – healing the sick, casting out demon, raising the dead, restoring sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, seeing the lame walk and the captive set free. In fact, Jesus stated that “the things He did we shall do also and even greater things because He goes to the Father and sends the Holy Spirit upon His Church” (John 14:12). This happened on the original Day of Pentecost. And the good works have continued around the world ever since.
We must not get side tracked into social justice issues and other pressing and important issues and topics as has happened to most mainline denominational organizations. We must stay true to the original supernatural good works of the Bible – and be about My Father’s business as Jesus was … so that, like Paul, we can declare that we have “fully preached the Gospel” in word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God” (Romans 15;18-19).
Careful we don’t get sidetracked into acts of rioghteousness calling them good works and thus lose the opportunity to impact lives supernaturally.