Have you ever been to a funeral, listened to the eulogy and thought, “I must be at the
wrong church, for that certainly doesn’t sound like my friend!”
It seems that everyone has their own definition of “good works.” But the only definition
that matters is God’s! Christ Jesus says, “Be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is
perfect” (Matt. 5:48). In other words, everything you say, think or do is to be measured
by His standard of perfection as shown in the Bible, particularly the Ten Commandments.
Armed with that definition of good works you might well say, “There are no good
works!” Since no human being is perfect, none of our deeds are perfect either.
Everything we do is tainted in God’s sight by the filth of human pride. The prophet Isaiah
graphically describes this situation: “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and
all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind
our sins sweep us away” (Isa 64:6-7).
However, God stepped into this quagmire of human imperfection by sending His Son
Jesus Christ to us. On our behalf Christ fulfilled the demands of God’s law by being
perfect for us. He is God’s love in human flesh, and as Romans 13:10 says, “Love is the
fulfillment of the law.” Unlike us, Christ never sinned. Unlike us, self-giving love
instead of self-serving love was the motivation behind His entire earthly life.
What does that mean for you? It means that Jesus kept every single commandment
perfectly for you! It means that He never lied, cheated, stole, hated, or lapsed into
jealousy. It means that through His gift of saving faith He places His robe of perfection
around your shoulders. Thus, when God the Father sees you in Christ, everything you do
is perfect, or good, in His sight!
Some people have the idea that their good works can earn them “brownie points” with
God. They think, “If I do enough good deeds, God will owe me salvation.” But such
ideas are only the silly attempts of prideful humans to try to add their two cents to God’s
infinite majesty of giving us heavenly perfection through the merits of Jesus Christ alone.
Now that you know what God’s will is, don’t you want to love Him back? Don’t you want
to try to obey His will by showing yourself worthy of such eternal love? If so, then show
His goodness in your daily life from the simplest task to the most memorable. In
humbleness live up to Christ’s legacy of love given to you on the cross. Do your best, not
for your glory but to honor His holy name. And then when someone remembers you at
your funeral, they won’t have to lie! But even more importantly, through your life they
will end up honoring Jesus Christ all the more. For as Christ says, “Let your light shine
before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Mat
(All Scripture references are from the New International Version.)