For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. - Ephesians 2:10We all know the foundation of our belief in Christ Jesus is that we are saved by grace "through faith" (Ephesians 2:8) and this grace is a gift from God. But what is the end goal of this salvation? Clearly it is shown in the next verse that it is for "good works." It is not that our total end is just to do good works but that God desires to bring glory to himself through his creation namely by it being redeemed to him and bearing fruit. This truth is repeated our our Lord, "that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). The Church has always been full of good deeds and works, which are ways it expresses its life and Lord to humanity. Some circles of Christians in our day even teach against good deeds and that we should not love the poor or practically help widows, orphans or others. Their fear is that you will add to the work of Christ somehow or focus on externals instead of our inner walk with the Lord. Both of these are ditches we can fall in. Let us keep in step with the Apostles Traditions where they took care of the helpless not only in the Church but outside.Paul the Apostle teaches that sisters in the Church should be "with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God" (1 Timothy 2:10). For older sisters who were widows to be put on the Church list needed to be, "well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds" (1 Timothy 5:10). Paul speaks of the virtue of good deeds (1 Timothy 5:25). The rich brethren are encouraged to be rich in good deeds (1 Timothy 6:18). All believers are to encourage each other in good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). James speaks to believers of the foolish of having no deeds (James 2). Many more references could be shared, it was simply the goal of believers to express their devotion to Christ in good deeds of helping the poor, outcast, helpless and unloved. This has been the way the Church has been a light in this world in many ways throughout Church history.
_________________SI Moderator - Greg Gordon