In concluding this discussion of good works, there is a very dangerous deception having increasing influence in the Evangelical world.
It involves the confusion created when Evangelical leaders praise deeply religious people who have given their lives to help the poor, to fight for social justice, or to work with orphans, the sick, or the outcasts of society.
Just to be clear, the problem is not about giving credit to those whose work has been of great benefit to others. Nor about praising them for work they have done at great cost to themselves.
All of us can certainly recognize and be grateful to those who have helped other people.
However, this specifically relates to the identification of deeply religious people as great Christian examples based upon their good works; while these same people continue to hold to a spiritual belief that denies salvation by Christ alone, by faith alone, according to the scriptures alone.
For all practical purposes, these people are commonly being embraced as Christians based upon their outward show of good works rather than the specific truths they claim to believe about Jesus Christ and the word of God.
In doing this, we send a confused message to false religious leaders, to those who follow them, to the watching world, and to undiscerning believers.
And we communicate a gospel that is in direct contradiction to the true gospel of faith alone in Christ alone.
And we give a false hope of salvation to those who are not trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ as their only basis of eternal life.
Removing the Distinction
This increasingly popular practice removes the clear distinction between the gospel of Christ and the false gospel of works.
As doctrine and the word of God are increasingly deprioritized by the church, the emphasis is changing to something else. The new priority is to find common ground between biblical Christianity and false religious groups.
Which results in a strange new unity, a coming together, and a breaking-down-of-barriers between religious groups and Christians who magnify good works above spiritual truth.
Which, in the end, will only leave us with a false common ground and a false unity.
And a gospel without the power to save. Based only on the morality and goods works produced by the religious lost.
Deceived by Good Works
The gospel of faith alone in Christ alone is the bedrock doctrine of biblical Christianity.
And it is true that every born-again believer will have good works in his life. Because the indwelling Holy Spirit will produce fruit within a believer.
But that involves growing in Christ. And it involves understanding how we must depend on the Lord to produce those works. And never to think that those works in some way justify us or in some way merit salvation.
Salvation is a separate issue. It is based solely upon faith in the finished work of Christ and our repentance from sin (that takes place in the inner man).
Yet, despite this basic, foundational truth, Evangelicals continue to be deceived by Catholic and Orthodox-Greek apologists that attempt to justify their heretical positions on salvation. Who claim that good works are necessary for salvation.
(And, of course, these are not the only groups that teach ritualism, good works, and faith are all necessary components of salvation. Virtually all of mainline Protestantism does the same.)
As a result, we are seeing a growing number of Evangelical leaders defecting over into false-gospel territory.
Which is a direct result of the promotion of unity, coalitions. and friendly dialogues with false religious teachers. Which is in direct disobedience to the Lord’s command to publicly identify, rebuke, and avoid false teachers.
Not to golf with them or have them over for dinner and a movie!
But, of course, many Evangelical leaders, and especially those in the higher academic strata of Evangelical society, believe themselves to be more sensitive, more tolerant, more educated, and more licensed to hobnob with those that the scriptures have forbidden us to fellowship with. Because they, supposedly, believe themselves to be better, smarter, and more loving people than the rest of us poor, dumb, insensitive Christians.
And so, the confusion over good works continues.
Further diluting the clear difference that the Lord commanded to be maintained between His true salvation message and the false gospel of the religious world. By failing to teach correctly about how good works are to be viewed in relation to salvation.
A Miracle of Creation
The Bottom Line of all this is that God is not interested in the good works of men. At least not in those which are produced by the unbeliever.
And not even in those that are produced through a Christian’s own dedicated strength. Not even in those that the believer may think that God helps him to produce.
The true fruit of the Spirit, at the core, is produced by the creative act of God. Even like that work which the Lord Jesus Christ did when He created this universe. And like the loaves and fishes the Lord created when he fed the thousands in the wilderness.
Which were made by a supernatural miracle of creation. Which only God can do.
God creates all His good works in us. Works that will remain. Works that are eternal. Works that are produced by His Spirit.
Even those quiet, often-overlooked works of the Spirit that He fashions within the inner man. Created by His own eternal workmanship that takes a lifetime to build within a Christian.
Works that a man cannot do. Works that only He is able and ready to do.
Which He will do, if a believer will quietly and faithfully wait in dependence upon the Lord, in His time.
No other works will do.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)