310. HOW HARD DO I NEED TO WORK TO PLEASE GOD?
(The Abundant Life Series – Batch 3)
If you have been wondering how hard you need to work to please God and to make it to heaven, I’ve got good news for you. You can relax. You can stop perplexing over whether you are doing enough and being charitable enough and kind enough, to reach God’s righteous standard.
For, the truth is, you don’t need to work for your salvation or to attain God’s righteousness. You simply need to believe on Jesus Christ.
In particular, you need to believe that he is the Son of God, that he came to earth, lived a perfect life, died sacrificially for the sins of the world (including yours), rose from the dead on the third day (as he said he would) and confess with your mouth the truth, which is that he is Lord, meaning that he is your Creator, the all-mighty one and the one in whom all things consists. You need to believe that he (Jesus) has the power to justify the ungodly (meaning vile sinners like you and me who are deserving of God’s wrath because we have been disobedient and have failed to reach his perfect standard of righteousness) and the ability to give power to you to become a son (meaning a child) of God. Ultimately, you need to believe that he (Jesus) has the power to forgive sins, no matter how bad, to cleanse people from unrighteousness and to save souls to the uttermost, from sin, the wrath of God, spiritual death (which comes after physical death) and eternal damnation.
The Word of God states:
- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten SON, that whosoever BELIEVETH in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.“
- “That if thou shalt CONFESS WITH THY MOUTH the Lord Jesus, and shalt BELIEVE IN THINE HEART that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever BELIEVETH on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)
- “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now JUSTIFIED by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath THROUGH HIM.” (Romans 5:6-9)
- “But as many as received him, to them gave he POWER TO BECOME THE SONS OF GOD, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12)
- “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the FORGIVENESS of sins: And by him all that believe are JUSTIFIED from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38-39)
- “Wherefore he is able also to SAVE THEM TO THE UTTERMOST that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)
- “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to FORGIVE us our sins, and to CLEANSE us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Once you believe on Jesus and therefore put your trust in him (nothing else and no one else) to save you, God looks at your faith in his Son (not what you do or how hard you have worked) and imputes or puts HIS righteousness, which is perfect, on you, the sinner.
When he does this, you are then irreversibly saved by grace alone because you didn’t pay a thing and didn’t have to lift a finger to work for it but it was offered to you freely and you accepted it by faith. Hence the reason that the Word of God states of those who have believed on Jesus by faith:
- “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (BY GRACE ye are saved😉 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For BY GRACE are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:4-9)
When you believe on Jesus Christ and confess him as Lord with your mouth, you are also irreversibly sealed with God’s Holy Spirit of promise, which is given to every person that becomes a child of God, as a downpayment or security deposit of the eternal inheritance to come and as evidence of his or her Sonship.
Ephesians 1:12-14 states:
- “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
Of righteousness, justification and salvation, all of which come through faith in Jesus alone and not by works, Romans 4:1-8 states of Abraham, a man in the Old Testament that was full of faith in whatever God said, that it was true and therefore, was justified or declared to be righteous by God:
- “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham BELIEVED God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
- Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of GRACE, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness WITHOUT WORKS, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”
WORKING WHILE RESTING
Once you believe in Jesus therefore and are made righteous and a child of God, you can REST. You don’t need to worry anymore as to if you are good enough or doing enough to please God or whether you’ve made too many mistakes in life and have a past that is too ugly, for you to make it to heaven. You are already guaranteed an eternal inheritance and having been adopted into God’s family, this can never be reversed.
You don’t need to try either, to be a goody-two-shoes and to cry for fear of hell, whenever you fall short of perfection. For, truth be told, all the good you did before you believed on Jesus Christ alone by faith alone for salvation was not good enough and was not even accepted by God because you did not do them while IN CHRIST but in the world.
Isaiah 64:6 states of us, when outside of Christ’s righteous covering, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…”
Thankfully though, as C. I. Scofield once stated of God’s grace which is freely offered to all human beings, “Grace is not looking for good men whom it may approve, for it is not grace but mere justice to approve goodness. [Rather] it is looking for condemned, guilty, speechless and helpless men whom it may save, sanctify and glorify.”
Only those works that are done IN CHRIST are acceptable to God and a person can only be operating IN CHRIST, if he believes God’s testimony that Jesus, his Son, died and rose again on the third day.
As you continue on in life therefore as a child of God, regenerated by God’s Holy Spirit which indwells you, you don’t work for your salvation (because you already have it) but you demonstrate to the world and to others looking on, that you truly have faith in Jesus, by doing good works. Good works flow from you as a Christian because your heart has been changed.
You have been brought out from darkness and brought into God’s marvellous light (1 Peter 2:9) and this light upon your heart, causes you to now do good. The good works that you do are not mechanical or done with ulterior motives but as an outpouring of the love that God has shed abroad in the hearts of all those who become his children, through acceptance of Jesus Christ, his Son.
Romans 5:5 states of God’s children, “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
If a person claims to have faith in Jesus therefore and to be saved but there is no evidence of that salvation in the life that he or she lives and his or her works, then that person is either deliberately not being truthful or deluded.
Matthew 7:16-18 states:
- “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”
James 2:14-26 states, even of Abraham and others who demonstrated that they had faith by the good works that followed:
- “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
- Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
- Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how FAITH WROUGHT WITH HIS WORKS, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham BELIEVED God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.“
We therefore believe on Jesus by FAITH to please God and to be saved and NOT BY WORKS but a by-product or evidence of genuine faith in Jesus and that we have indeed been saved is that we will go on to do good works.
We therefore REST in Jesus Christ, the one in whom we believe by faith and have placed our trust for salvation but we now feel motivated to do good works which is evidence that we have indeed been saved, made righteous and are accepted by God.
(Written on 25th April, 2022)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, beneficial or edifying, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 82 – ‘Trying To Be The Best You Can Is Not Enough – Jesus Is The Answer’
- Note 93 – ‘Must I Keep The Law? (Part 1/3)‘
- Note 243 – ‘What The Bible Says About Keeping The Law (Part 2/3)‘
- Note 246 – ‘To Those Who Insist On Keeping The Law (Part 3/3)‘
- Note 302 – ‘God Has Said It – So That Settles It’
- Note 244 – ‘Are You Trying To Establish Your Own Righteousness?’
Additionally, under the ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters’ Page:
- Note 217 – ‘Kiss The Son’
- Note 228 – ‘Jesus – The Salvation And Righteousness Of God’