Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.
You are not here by chance but by God’s choosing. You did not invent yourself, nor did you have any part in your own creation. You were intricately knit together in the womb (Psalm 139:13). The hand of God formed you to be the person that you are; He created you at the exact moment that He desired, and He has placed you at this point in history so that you, in Christ, by grace, through faith, might do good deeds—good deeds which He has planned for you to do (Ephesians 2:10).
In other words, you have received grace upon grace that you might do good.
While the concept of “doing good” may not be our first thought when we consider the impact on ourselves of God’s transforming grace, it was virtually number one on the apostle Paul’s list. In his letter to Titus, he writes that God, in Jesus, “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14, emphasis added). This emphasis appears several times throughout the letter, culminating in Paul’s closing exhortation: “Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works.”
Paul’s particular zeal for good works was and is completely countercultural, both in his day and in our own. We live in a world that is full of enticements to pursue self-centered lives of leisure. How, then, are we to imitate Paul and excel in good deeds?
First, we need to be clear that our pursuit of good deeds does not earn God’s favor. We do not do good to be saved but because we’re saved. Without grace as its foundation, the call to virtuous living is pure externalism and will either exhaust us or puff us up. Second, we need to remember that our pursuit of good deeds does bring God pleasure; we live “not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). So, we are to be marked by God-honoring, Christ-exalting goodness as a living testimony to our great salvation.
Our ability to do good is also, Paul says, a learned behavior. We are called to “learn to devote” ourselves to goodness. Our actions shouldn’t just be the result of an emotional surge or come about only when we feel like it. Instead, we are to endeavor on a daily basis to do the kingdom work that God has planned for each one of us, and do it intentionally and habitually. And we are to look at those further on in their faith who live this kind of life and seek to learn from them.
In Christ, all of your days and all of your deeds may be good for someone and for something. Learn to begin each day asking for His help to do good to others as a response to His grace to you, trusting that He will graciously enable you to give evidence of your beliefs by your actions.
James 1:27-27, James 2:1-13
Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,