Thursday, March 14, 2013

Doing What is Right

The Good Samaritan by Dan Burr
Some people downplay the importance of being a doer, but the Lord places a high premium on it.  Some people say that good works have no part in eternal salvation.

While there is nothing you can do to earn forgiveness for your sin, that does not eliminate the need for doing.  So it’s important to have a proper, Scriptural understanding of “doing good works”. 

The Righteous Do What is Right
The apostle John wrote: “He who does what is righteous is righteous, just as He is righteous.” (1 Jn 3:7b)

The word for “does” in this passage is the Greek word, “poieo” which means to perform, work, yield, make, act, or do.  So the Scripture teaches that if you really are righteous, you will do what is righteous. Conversely, those who do not do righteous are not righteous.

“This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do right is not a child of God…” (1 Jn 3:10).  The underlined word “do” is from the same Greek word, poieo.  And in all the verses throughout this word study, I have underlined the English words used to translate the word poieo.

Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.  (Joh 8:34)

Other Uses of “Poieo”
The word poieo is used 572 times throughout the New Testament.  And when you observe the meaning of this word in the context of these other passages, you can clearly see that it requires action, work, or performance of something by someone. 

"Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.” (Mat 5:36)

"But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, (Mat 6:3)

'These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.' (Mat 20:12)

And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, "What do you want Me to do for you?"
(Mat 20:32)

And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will happen. (Mat 21:21)

"For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. "She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. "Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her."  (Mar 14:7-9)

The apostles *gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught.  (Mar 6:30)

"He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.  (Luk 1:51)

Mary and Joseph carried out (poieo) the custom of the Law.  “…the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law,”  (Luk 2:27)

But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.  (Luk 23:34)

Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did.  (Act 9:36)

Cornelius was "a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually."  (Act 10:2)

"...and when they had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, 'These men are throwing our city into confusion, being Jews, and are proclaiming customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans.'"  (Act 16:20-21)

We Must Do What is Right
Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we may appear unapproved. (2Co 13:7)

Many people think the apostle Paul taught only faith and not works, but he taught both.  He said we must do what is right.

He was in agreement with the apostle James, who said, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (Jam 4:17). You must do the right thing you know to do.

All throughout Scripture, we are commanded to do what is right (see Gen 4:7; 18:19; Pr 21:3; Ex 15:26; Deut 6:18; 1 King 11:38).

There are Good Deeds You Must Do
Paul taught that we must do good.

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.  (Gal 6:9)

We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command.  (2Th 3:4)

Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.  (1Ti 4:16)

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2Ti 4:5)


To Walk in the Light, Practice the Truth
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;  (1Jo 1:6)

"But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."  (Joh 3:21)

Motive Counts When you Practice Righteousness
"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. (Mat 6:1)

"Not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart." (Eph 6:6)

"If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same." (Luk 6:33).  If you only do good to those who do good to you, then your motive is selfish and wrong.  That’s common among sinners, so God is not going to credit that to you as righteousness.


"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others." (Mat 23:23)

Jesus didn’t criticize them for tithing, but said they should have done so.  He rebuked them for their lack of mercy and faithfulness.  God sees the motives of our heart when we practice our righteousness, and it matters to Him.

Don’t be self-righteous about your good deeds. Walk in humility.  Jesus said of the master, "He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'"  (Luk 17:9-10).  Do your duty to God, as you ought to, without expecting recognition or anything in return for it.

Do Everything In His Name and For His Glory
"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father."  (Col 3:17)

"Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."  (1Co 10:31)

It’s necessary that we do everything in the Name of Jesus and for His glory.  If we cannot do something in Jesus’ Name, then we shouldn’t do it.  If we cannot do something for His glory, we shouldn’t do it.  Think about your actions, habits, and lifestyle based on that standard.

Question: If you cannot do something for the glory of God, then why do it at all? (Also see For the Glory of God Alone).

You May Not Do What You Please
"For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please." (Gal 5:17)

You may not do the things that you please. This is why it is essential to walk by the Spirit every day, and every step of the way, abiding in Christ from morning until night. Otherwise you will walk in the flesh, which sets its desire against the Spirit. (Also see Pleasing the Lord).

We Must Keep the Lord’s Supper
"And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, 'This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.'" (Luk 22:19)

Question: If we do not need to do anything, then why do we practice the Lord’s Supper?

Repentance is Something we Do and Not Just Feel
Peter preached the gospel and people asked what they should do: “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’ Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”  (Act 2:37-38)

Question: If we do not need to do anything, then why must we repent and practice water baptism?

We must repent, be water baptized, and keep the Lord’s Supper, but some people act as if the only two things we must do are the Lord’s Supper and water baptism.  They teach that these are the only two “ordinances” given to the church.  They forget that repentance is of the primary things Jesus taught, and it requires you to do something that God will not do for you..

True Repentance Must be Proven by Deeds
"Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; (Mat 3:8)

"The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  (Mat 3:10)

"'Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.' And the crowds were questioning him, saying, 'Then what shall we do?' And he would answer and say to them, 'The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.' And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, 'Teacher, what shall we do?' And he said to them, 'Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.' Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, 'And what about us, what shall we do?' And he said to them, 'Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.'" (Luk 3:9-14)

"So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.” (Mat 7:17)

"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.” (Mat 12:33)

"And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty." (Mat 13:23)

The Lord looks at your fruit, not just your words, to see what kind of tree you are.  Only those who understand AND act on the Word produce good fruit.

'Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place--unless you repent."  (Rev 2:5)

You Must Make Your Calling and Election Sure
Just as repentance must be evidenced by deeds, those who are truly called and elected by God must do something.

"Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you." (2Pe 1:10-11)

We know that it is the Lord who calls us and chooses us.  Yet in this passage, the apostle Peter taught that we must not be complacent about being called and chosen. Rather, we must practice (poieo) the things he commanded in verses 5-9, in order to make (poieo) our calling and election certain.  It is only as long as you do these things that you will avoid stumbling, and this is the way to enter into the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Sound Doctrine Must be Accompanied by Deeds
Jesus spoke to people about the Pharisees and teachers of the Law.  He said: “Therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. (Mat 23:3)

These men were teaching many things correctly, but they were not doing right. So Jesus told their followers not to imitate their deeds. And He said that the Jewish leaders should have been doing according what the Word says. It’s not enough to teach the Word correctly. You must also act upon the Word by doing what it says.

Keeping God’s Commandments
"Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat 5:19) 

"How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." (Mat 12:12)

"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Mat 7:12, NIV; cf., Lk 6:31 NIV).  He taught that we should fulfill the Law and the Prophets by the way we treat people, which is what we do to them.

"If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?"  (Joh 7:17-19)

Jesus equated carrying out the Law with doing God’s will, and He placed great importance on doing so.

The apostle John taught the same thing as Jesus, regarding keeping His commandments: “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.”  (1Jo 3:22)

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.  (1Jo 5:2)

I want to emphasize that we are not endeavoring to keep up the law of Moses in conjunction with the gospel of Christ.

Fulfill the Royal Law
James taught we are doing well, if we fulfill the royal law.

If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF," you are doing well. (Jam 2:8)

Doing the Things of the Law is Righteous
"For it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them." (Rom 2:13-15)

Paul said it is the doers (Greek, poietes, meaning a "doer" or "performer", from root word "poieo") of the Law, who will be justified before God.  He taught that it is not hearing, but doing that will save us. This applied to those under the Law, and it applies also to Gentiles who instinctively do the things of the Law.  It shows that the Law is written in their hearts (see Heb 8:10). Therefore, it certainly applies to those under the gospel.

For Paul plainly said that God would render to every person according to his deeds, "to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Rom 2:7-10). He said this applies to all of us, whether Jew or Gentile. 

We Do Not Practice Righteousness to be Justified
"He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit" (Tit 3:5)

"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness."  (Rom 10:4-5)

Christ is the goal, completion, or fulfillment of the law, since he makes righteous those who believe in Him.  He didn’t save us from sin on the basis of the deeds we have done.  Our righteousness is not based on the Law or derived from the Law, so we don’t practice righteousness in order to be justified.  We practice righteousness because we ARE righteous.  We practice righteousness, because we are born of Christ!

"If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him."  (1Jo 2:29).

If You are Righteous, You Must Continue to Practice Righteousness
If you are righteous, you must continue to practice righteousness. "Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy."  (Rev 22:11)

Jesus Tells Us What We Must Do
And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do." (Act 9:5-6)

Notice that we like Paul all have something we must do. Jesus tells us what we must do.

The Disciples Did as Jesus Instructed
"The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them." (Mat 21:6)

"The disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover." (Mat 26:19)

“(For there were about five thousand men.) And He said to His disciples, ‘Have them sit down to eat in groups of about fifty each.’ They did so, and had them all sit down.”  (Luk 9:14-15)

Jesus Set an Example for us to Do as He Did
So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you?  (Joh 13:12)

"For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.”  (Joh 13:15)

Doing as Jesus Commands Has Great Results
"If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” (Joh 13:17)

When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break;  (Luk 5:6)

After looking around at them all, He said to him, "Stretch out your hand!" And he did so; and his hand was restored.  (Luk 6:10)

His mother *said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."  (Joh 2:5)

Being in God’s Family Requires Doing
"For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother." (Mat 12:50)

Abraham’s Children Do Abraham’s Deeds
They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus *said to them, "If you are Abraham's children, do the deeds of Abraham.  (Joh 8:39). 

Note here that the word here for deeds is ergon, meaning works.  So Jesus commanded us to do the works of Abraham.

Being a Man After God’s Heart Requires Doing
"After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, 'I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.'  (Act 13:22)

Notice that the reason David was known by God as a man after His own heart is because he would DO all God’s will.  Jesus was like that.

Jesus Only Did the Father’s Will
As we consider the need for doing, we can see from the life of Jesus that He was always doing the Father’s will.  It was food for Him. Jesus *said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.  (Joh 4:34)

"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.  (Joh 6:38)

So Jesus said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. "And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him."  (Joh 8:28-29)

"But so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here." (Joh 14:31)

"I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do."  (Joh 17:4)

Jesus Did Nothing of Himself
"Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.'" (Joh 5:19)

Question: If the Father wouldn’t do something, why would we ever do it?

"For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.” (Joh 5:20)

"But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish--the very works that I do--testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.”  (Joh 5:36)

"Jesus answered them, 'I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these testify of Me.'"  (Joh 10:25)

"If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father." (Joh 10:37-38)

We Can Do Nothing Apart from Jesus
"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."  (Joh 15:5)

Faith is Required To Do the Works of God
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it."  (Joh 14:12-14)

"Therefore they said to Him, 'What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?' Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.'" (Joh 6:28-29). 

Jesus taught that the only way to do the works of God is by faith.  You must believe in Him, and then you will do His works, because He will be doing His works in and through you.

The Father Does His Works in Us
"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works." (Joh 14:10)

"God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul." (Act 19:11)

"After he had greeted them, he began to relate one by one the things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry."  (Act 21:19)

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us." (Eph 3:20)

"Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen."  (Heb 13:20-21; cf. Phil 2:13)

Friendship with God is Based on Doing
"You are My friends if you do what I command you." (Joh 15:14)

Those Who Act on God’s Word Will Not Perish
"Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock.” (Mat 7:24, MKJV)

Doing is Required to Inherit Eternal Life
And someone came to Him and said, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?" (Mat 19:16).

Whenever someone asked Jesus what they must do to inherit eternal life, He never said, “You don’t need to do anything.” Note:

And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?" And he answered, "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE."  (Luk 10:25-28).  Jesus clearly taught there is something we must do to inherit eternal life.

To the lawyer who wanted to inherit eternal life, Jesus commanded him to do as the good Samaritan did, showing mercy to his neighbor. And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same."  (Luk 10:37)

A ruler questioned Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. "You know the commandments, 'DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.'"  (Luk 18:18-20).  Jesus told the ruler to do the commandments of God to inherit eternal life.

"Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it." (Mat 21:43)

The Eternal Judgment is Based on Deeds
"The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever." (1Jo 2:17)

"Our Law does not judge a man unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?"  (Joh 7:51)

Notice that God’s Law judges a man based on what He does.

"So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty." (Jam 2:12)

"But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?"  (Rom 2:3)

"Knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free." (Eph 6:8)

"For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised." (Heb 10:36)

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” (Mat 7:21)

"Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'" (Mat 7:22)

"Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?”  (Luk 6:46)

"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies."  (Joh 8:44)

"The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows."  (Luk 12:47, NIV)

"Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.”  (Mat 24:45-46)

"The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'"  (Mat 25:40)

"Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'"  (Mat 25:45)

Jesus said, "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. "I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.  (Joh 5:28-30)

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no man comes to the Father, but through Him!  That means nobody outside of Christ will receive eternal life.  With that being understood, Jesus said, "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done." (Rev 22:12; cf. Ps 62:12; 1 Co 3:8).  The Greek word for "reward" in this verse is "misthos," meaning "pay for service," (good or bad), "hire, reward, or wages."  And the Greek word in this verse for the phrase "what he has done" is "ergon," meaning "deed, doing, labor, or work."  So the Lord will pay us back, according to our works.  Therefore, the recompense given at the eternal judgment is based on each person's own deeds.

Heaven is for Those Who Practice Righteousness
The apostle John described heaven, saying, "In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Rev 21:25-27)

Later John described those who are not allowed into heaven, who are shut out, saying, "Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying."  (Rev 22:15)

Heaven is a holy city. Everything there is holy: the sky, the river, the trees, the streets, the temple, the throne, the Lord, the angels, the people, the conversation, the worship, and the rest.  Holiness makes everything in God’s temple beautiful.

"He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."  (Rev 21:7-8).  Let's be those who overcome and inherit these things.

Doing What is Right in the Old Testament
I have intentionally shown only the New Testament Scriptures about doing what is right, so that you can see that this is something God requires for disciples of Christ, and it is not just a requirement of the Old Covenant.  But I would like to give a few examples from the Old Testament, just to show that this requirement is found throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  Here they are:

Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors…” (Dt 6:18)

“LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart;” (Ps 15:1-2)

“The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair;” (Pr 1:1-3)

“To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” (Pr 21:3)

“The violence of the wicked will drag them away, for they refuse to do what is right.” (Pr 21:7)

“Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.” (Ps 106:3)

"He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?" (Mic 6:8).

Some of the people that did what was right in the Old Testament were Abel, Noah, Moses, and David. And according to Hebrews 11, they all did so by faith.

Putting it All Together
We do not do righteous deeds in order to be made righteous, and Jesus doesn’t save you from sin based on your righteous deeds.  But if you have been made righteous, then you will surely practice righteousness, do good deeds, do what is right, bear the good fruit of repentance, and keep God’s commandments.  The righteous do what is right by faith. Doing the things of the Law is righteous.  "You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone." (Jam 2:24).

If you are righteous, you must continue to practice righteousness. That's how you make your calling and election certain. You may not do what you please. To walk in the Light, you’ve got to practice the Truth. Our Lord Jesus Christ and the His apostles, Peter, Paul, James, and John are in agreement on this.

But we must do these things with love from the heart to please God.  He sees the motives of our heart when we practice our righteousness, and it matters to Him.  Do everything in is Name and for His glory.

We must keep the Lord’s Supper and be water baptized.  But don’t forget that we must repent, and produce the evidence of our repentance.  Repentance is something we do and not just something we feel.  True repentance must be proven by your deeds.  It’s not just the first step to entering the kingdom, it is a way of life that we must continually practice.  True piety will be marked by evidence.

Friendship with God is based on doing. Likewise, being in God’s family requires doing.  Abraham’s children do Abraham’s deeds.  Being a man after God’s heart requires doing. Jesus was like that, and only did the Father’s will.  Jesus did nothing of Himself, and we can do nothing apart from Jesus.  Our righteous deeds are not based on sheer human effort alone.  Faith in God and abiding in Christ is required to do the works of God. The Father does His works in us, as we believe in Him, and walk by the Spirit.

It’s not enough to have sound doctrine.  It must be accompanied by deeds.  Jesus set an example for us to do as He did.  He also tells us what we must do.  The words of Jesus must be read and obeyed.  The disciples did as Jesus instructed them, and it always produced great results in their lives.

Those who act on God’s Word will not perish, because doing is required to inherit eternal life.  In fact, the eternal judgment is based on deeds.  God will examine your deeds, and you will be rewarded accordingly.  If your deeds were evil, you will be punished eternally. If your deeds were righteous, you will inherit eternal life.  This is the way to enter the eternal kingdom. Make no mistake!  Heaven is the home of only those who practice righteousness.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, as well as the Modern King James Version (MKJV), where noted.

Author's note: The message I've just taught in this article has been beautifully expressed in a couple of poems my young daughters have written, called Perfect for the King and Reward of the Overcomer.  I encourage you to take a moment to read those.  And if you enjoyed this post, you may also like the companion messages, Your Rewards Are Based on Your Practice, Righteous Deeds and White Robes, Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth?, Practicing Your Righteousness, The Judgment Seat of Christ, Holding Fast the Faithful Word, and Pleasing the Lord. Some other related articles available on the Home page are:

Law of Love in the New Testament The Law Established Through Faith Faith Works!
Is Obedience Optional? The Cost of Discipleship Obedience by the Spirit
 The Law Fulfilled in Us The New Covenant Deleted Scriptures in the Bible?

You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Image credit: The Good Samaritan by Dan Burr of Dan Burr Illustration copyright 2013 used by permission.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Him.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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