30 Days in the Bible, Day 22: Hebrews 6:9-12
Christians struggle sometimes with the place of good works in the Christian life. There have been those who see our own works as a necessary part of our salvation along with the sacrifice of Jesus. Others draw the opposite conclusion, and say what we do is of no importance if we believe in Jesus. Neither of these extremes does full justice to everything the Bible teaches about why Christians are to do good works.
The author of Hebrews refers to “things that belong to salvation” before discussing the way God views the work of those to whom he writes. There are aspects to salvation beyond the point at which we come to Christ in faith and receive forgiveness of our sins and regeneration through the Holy Spirit. From that point on, we are to live out our salvation before a watching world. Only because we have been made new in Christ are we able to do anything that is pleasing in God’s sight.
Although our good works do not bring us salvation, they are an integral part of being saved. It is when we serve the Lord, meet the needs of those around us, and demonstrate a loving concern for both our brothers and sister in Christ and for the lost that we show the change that Jesus has made in our lives. This ability to do what is right, even though we don’t do it perfectly, is an evidence to us and to others that we are indeed part of the family of God.
It is important to note that good works aren’t just an evidence for others, but are also evidence for ourselves. The author says that we should show earnestness in our service to give us assurance. When we are eager to do what is right in the name of Jesus it shows that our hearts are in line with His purposes for us. Our motivation to serve Him through our actions comes from the realization that we have been made new in Him, which creates in us a desire to show Jesus in our actions.
While we won’t do this perfectly in this life, we should find that we do it more frequently as we progress in our relationship with Jesus, our knowledge of the Word, and our dependence on the Holy Spirit. That progress will be another indication that something had happened to change our beliefs, our thoughts, our desires, and our service to the Lord and to others. It should encourage us with the knowledge that we have been made new creations in Christ, and provide assurance of our right standing with God through Him. That should cause us to seek to progress even further, and to continue in our journey to be more like Jesus until we see Him face to face.