Fifty years ago, if you’d said to me, “Let’s do lunch,” I’d have asked you what you meant. Today I would respond, “Let me know when.” We have attached a new meaning to the action verb “do” and we understand it. Interestingly, the Bible tells us many things to do – actions to take – and many act as if the meaning has changed although it hasn’t. Bible commands under the New Testament are as valid today as when they were set forth in the first century. For example, the actions of believing and being baptized are still conditions for salvation (Mark 16:16).
We know we are saved by God’s grace through faith – and “not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). But don’t omit the next verse: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Titus 3:1-8 affirm that those who have been saved by God’s grace should be careful to maintain good works.) We must be doers of the word and not hearers only (James 1:22)!
What are these good works that we were created anew to do? Jesus gave a good list in the judgment scene recorded in Matthew 25:31-46 – providing for the needs of our fellowman. He adds another good work to the list in the next chapter with the woman anointing His head with oil (Matthew 26:6-13). We might conclude that giving glory to the Son of God or worship is a good work – and it is something we’re commanded to do!
“Good works” surely encompasses anything our Lord commands or expects us to do as His redeemed. And it surely includes our treatment of one another (James 2:14-17). May we always do unto others as we would have them do unto us (Matthew 7:12). But, more importantly, may we do like the wise man and do what Jesus taught (Matthew 7:24-27)!