Most of the talk about doing good works in the New Testament is in the pastoral epistles. Pastors are to tell their people to do good works.
This is not a popular message. In our day, when a pastor starts talking about good works, people will criticize him as being legalistic, or falling back under the law, or some such thing.
However, it appears to me that this isn’t just something in “our day.” There is nothing new under the sun. Note the following example from Titus:
This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
First, Paul tells Titus to constantly tell people who say they have faith to do good works. The reason why is because good works are rather helpful.
Second, notice what comes immediately after telling “believers” to do good works–a warning not to get sucked into foolish questions and strivings about the law.
Yup, sounds about right.
When a pastor tells people to do good works, more than likely he will be argued with. Someone will ask a dumb question, trying to veer the point and change the subject. People will inevitably start battling over law issues, accusing the pastor of having fallen from grace and back under law.
Yes, I’ve been there. Yes, I’ve gotten sucked into many a foolish question and arguments about the law. All of this is merely an effort to keep sin reigning by the sinner who loves his sin.
There must be a consistency and a determination to keep the main thing the main thing. When it comes to practical Christian living, the main thing is: do good stuff.
It’s not that hard to understand. Don’t confuse the issue.
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.