By Pastor Bill Parker
(1). A good work is a work God does in and through His people (sinners saved by grace, born again by the Spirit; those who believe and rest in Christ, His blood and righteousness, for all salvation), as His chosen, justified, redeemed, and regenerated children. So a good work is Christ living in and through us by His Spirit and His Word. It is not our work but HIS. We do not produce good works, but God produces them in us.(John 3:21; Gal. 2:20; 5:22-23; Php. 1:6; 2:13; Heb. 13:20-21)
(2). A good work is a work sprinkled by the blood of Christ so as to be presented as acceptable unto God. Even though these works are the operation of God, the fruit of the Spirit, and as produced by God they are perfect, when they come through us (our minds, affections, and wills), they are contaminated by the flesh. Our best works are still tainted with remaining sin, and though we who are in Christ cannot be condemned (Rom. 8:1,33-34), we are not yet perfect in ourselves (Rom. 7:14-25). We are still in need of continual cleansing by His blood (1 John 2:1-2). Those who would deny this must deny the warfare of the flesh and the Spirit and the fact that because of the flesh we cannot be or do as we desire – perfectly conformed to Christ (Gal. 5:17).
(3). A good work is the fruit of God’s grace in Christ, and it is inspired and energized by the presence, power, and influence of the Holy Spirit according to the guidelines of God’s revealed Word (the Scriptures). It is therefore motivated by grace, gratitude, and love for Christ, not legal threats and mercenary promises of earned rewards. (John 15:1-8; Rom. 7:4-6; Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Tim. 3:14-17)
(4). A good work is aimed towards the glory of God in Christ and not to bring attention or glory to ourselves. Works aimed at exalting ourselves are dead works and fruit unto death. Good works will always, ultimately, point sinners away from self and to Christ. (Isa. 61:3; Matt. 5:16; John 3:30; 15:8; 1 Cor. 10:31; Php. 1:11; 2 Thess. 1:11-12; 1 Pet. 2:12)
(5). A good work is a work of truth, grace, love, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, patience, and faithfulness, in hopes that God will use them to bring lost sinners to the truth and to edify His church. A good work is a testimony, as it is viewed in light of the Gospel, that our righteousness before God is not our works but Christ and Him crucified. (Matt. 5:13-16; Gal. 5:6, 13-14; Col. 4:5; 1 Tim. 6:18; Titus 3:8; Heb. 6:10-11; 10:24-25; 1 Pet. 3:1-2)