Commentary By: Gordon King
Many believers in Jesus Christ think that they must do good things in order to be a better Christian, that what they do will actually make them more Christ-like. Well my friends, I disagree!
Even unbelievers do good works, yet they are like filthy rags to the Lord. Without belief and faith in God, nothing we do can be pleasing to the Lord, for it is done in rebellion and sin. There are even many people who believe that our good works can save us!
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
While we should do things like go to church, read and study the bible, and do good works for the Lord, none of these things will make us better Christians, nor will they make us more like Christ, and they definitely won’t save us!
1 Timothy 6:17-19
“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”
It is godly for believers to do good works, to study the bible, to fellowship with other believers, and to help those in need. We are to shine a light into the world for the glory of God. Our good works also store up for us treasures in heaven, that is true. We were created by God in Christ Jesus for good works.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Good works are the result of us being saved! Our good works are the fruit of the Spirit living within us. When we perform good works it is allowing the Spirit of God to perform these things through us.
2 Corinthians 5:21
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
It is Jesus Christ living within us that does these things for us, not us who does them. For we are in Christ, and Christ in us! We are to lay down our lives and let Jesus Christ live through us!
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
If we are true believers in Jesus Christ, then it is not us who does good things, but He who lives in us!
“for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
Following the leading and calling of God within us. This my friends is what it means to be “walking in the Spirit”. Walking in the Spirit means to let Christ live in us and through us. It is listening to the Spirit, following the lead of the Spirit, and obeying the Spirit!
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
We are to live for Christ, and allow Him to live for us. This is what Jesus meant when he said to deny yourself, take up his cross and follow Him.
‘Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” ‘
When we are saved, then we are one with Christ, and one with the Father in heaven. We put on the life of Christ and allow Him to live within us and through us!
“The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
When we allow God to live in us and through us, then we will bear fruit, the fruit of the Spirit, thus proving that we truly are children of God!
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”
Our good works do not save us, nor do they make us more Christ-like! They do prove that we are children of God, they do store up for us treasures in heaven, and they do glorify our Father in heaven.
It is God, and God alone who makes us more like Him! It is through sanctification that God makes us more like Jesus Christ. Only God can make us better, make us more righteous, make us more holy and pure!
2 Thessalonians 2:13
“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.”
I don’t really know if anything we do or don’t do can add to or take away from this sanctification process, but I do know that we can hinder it. We can hinder the workings of the Holy Spirit if we do not listen to Him, follow His lead, or obey Him. We can grieve the Holy Spirit of God!
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
We are told by the apostle Paul not to quench the Holy Spirit!
1 Thessalonians 5:19
“Do not quench the Spirit.”
What in the world is he talking about?
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
The Holy Spirit is the fire of God within us. It is His way of cleansing us from unrighteousness, of purifying us, and sanctifying us! When we grieve the Holy Spirit within, then we quench the fire of the Spirit. When we obey the Spirit, when we are walking in the Spirit, then God can and will perform His good works in us and through us!
It is God who makes us more Christ-like, it is God who cleanses us and purifies us. It is God who performs good works through us, for we are in Christ, and Christ is in us! When we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, He became our life, we died to our old self and put on Christ.
Being a better Christian, more Christ-like, is based on our relationship with God! This is how we become more mature as believers, closer to God, and more like Him. It is not through our good works, nor is it through our lack of good works. What makes us more sanctified and holy is our relationship with the Almighty! We can do many good things, such as going to church, reading the bible, helping the needy, but without a close relationship with our Creator, none of these things really matter. If you don’t put God first in all things, if you don’t seek Him with all of your heart, then what difference will it really make if you perform good works?!
Good works are pleasing to God, they bring Him glory. However, we must be sure that we are doing them as we are walking in the Spirit! We all need to remember, myself included, that if we are not walking in the Spirit, then we are walking in the flesh. That if we don’t put God first in all things, then we are self-seeking. If our actions are not based on God and His word, then it is sin.
Walk in the Spirit by seeking God, by listening to God, by speaking to God, by turning your life over to God! Obey the Spirit, for He is our Friend, our Counselor, our Helper, and our Comforter. With Him we can do all things, but without Him we can do nothing!
God bless my friends! Maranatha!