What are
good works

also known as: works righteousness


Good works are an expression of gratitude in the believer's heart (John 14:15, 23; Galatians 5:6). They are the fruits of the Spirit (Titus 2:10-12), and thus spring from grace, which they illustrate and strengthen in the heart.

Good works of even the most sincere believers are all imperfect, yet, like the person themselves, they are accepted through the mediation of Jesus Christ (Col. 3:17), and so are rewarded. They have no merit intrinsically, but are rewarded wholly of grace.

The old objection against the doctrine of salvation by grace, that it does away with the necessity of good works, and lowers the sense of their importance (Romans 6), although it has been answered a thousand times, is still alleged by many. They argue that if men are not saved by works, then works are not necessary.

They reason that, if the most moral of men are saved in the same way as the very chief of sinners, then good works are of no avail for receiving eternal life (see: Gospel). And more than this, if the grace of God is most clearly displayed in the salvation of the vilest of men, then the worse men are the better.

These objections have no validity. The Gospel of salvation by grace shows that good works are necessary. It is true, unchangeably true, that without holiness no man shall see the Lord. “Neither adulterers, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards” shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Works are “good” only when…

  1. They spring from the principle of love to God. The moral character of an act is determined by the moral principle that prompts it. Faith and love in the heart are the essential elements of all true obedience.

  2. Good works only spring from a believing heart, and can only be done by one who is reconciled to God (Ephesians 2:10; James 2:18:22).

  3. Good works have the GLORY OF GOD as their object.

  4. They have the revealed will of God as their only rule (Deuteronomy 12:32; Rev. 22:18-19).

Please watch these VERY RELEVANT short free videos…

Streaming video— 
“Saved by Faith or Works?”
Featuring Ray Comfort and Todd Friel
Video by Living Waters, a Christian Answers Team Member
Length: 3 minutes
Streaming video— 
Why good works are CLEARLY NOT the way to salvation.
Discover the true power and message of what Christ did on the cross!
“The Man on The Middle Cross” by Alistair Begg —“The foolishness of the cross is the wisdom of God and the wisdom of God is powerful in its impact.”
Video by Apologia Bros
Length: 16 minutes
Streaming video— 
“Thankful For Nothing”
Justin Peters on Psalm 103:9-11
Length: 7 minutes

Reward for good works and faithfulness awaits the true follower of Christ

Some reward or blessing may be given in this Earthly life, but the true reward—the far more valuable and lasting reward—will be in Heaven, and in the Millennial Kingdom of God on Earth, and in the New Heavens and New Earth. Doing good works with no assurance of reward in this life, but in the next, demonstrates the Believer’s true trust and faith in God.

Reward delivered beyond our current existence is guaranteed by our Savior who cannot lie.

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High… —Luke 6:35 LSB excerpt

Blessed are you when men hate you, and exclude you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. … —Luke 6:22-23 LSB excerpt (also Matthew 5:12)

“…Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. … —Revelation 22 LSB excerpt

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. Serve the Lord Christ. —Colossians 3:23-24 LSB

…each will receive his own reward according to his own labor… If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. —1 Corinthians 3:8-15 LSB excerpt

…a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed… when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. —1 Peter 5:1-4 LSB excerpt

…that you may receive a full reward. —2 John 1:8 LSB excerpt

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. …an incorruptible [crown]… —1 Corinthians 9:24-27 LSB excerpt

Other Scriptures: Matthew 6:4; Matthew 6:6; Matthew 10:42; Romans 2:6; Hebrews 6:10; Hebrews 11:26

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Article Version: August 6, 2021