1 Timothy 1:5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
In our lives as Christians, we can often get caught up in thinking that we’re just supposed to do certain things, obey the rules, and work for God. The problem is that sometimes our motives are all wrong. We do things because we’ll be noticed or we do them because we want God to think more highly of us. The Lord, whether we realize it or not, cares very much about our motives. He cares that we do things out of love, a pure heart, and sincere faith.
We shouldn’t do things just because we’re going through the motions of what we think we’re supposed to do and we should never do good things out of selfish motives. A good deed done for personal gain is worth nothing. God’s work in us, our sanctification, should lead to fruits that bear witness to Him. Selfish good deeds do no such thing.
Follow the lead of Matthew 5:16 and let your light shine so that others will glorify God because of it.
Romans 12:11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
When doing good for others, we shouldn’t be doing it out of some sense of obligation or the idea that we’ll gain standing with God if we do good works. The same is true of when we serve the Lord. It should be a joy to serve others if we are really doing it with the right motives.
If we say that we’re serving God, but we complain or grumble about what we’re doing, then we don’t exactly come across as serving out of joy. What message does that send to those who are watching? This doesn’t mean to put on a fake smile either. If you’re serving out of obligation and have no real joy or zeal in doing it; what are you left to do?
Search your heart. Pray that God would convict you where you’re lacking in ferver that He might ignite a fire in you to do good. Study the Scriptures, seek God’s will, lay aside your own pride and approach Him with a humble heart. You’ll find that joy will come as you serve if you do it with the right motivation and with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 3:28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
There was, even in the time of the first century church, controversy surrounding the subject of whether one is justified through faith alone or whether that is not sufficient on its own. Many Christians of Jewish heritage believed that one must first become a Jew (come under the Jewish laws) before becoming a legitimate Christian. Today we have similar sects within the church that believe justification comes though a combination of faith and works.
There is no biblical support for this view. To the contrary, the Bible tells us that Jesus died once and for all (Romans 6:10). To add requirements for salvation is to cheapen the cross. James’ argument in the New Testament (James 2:14-26) is not that works are a requirement for salvation but rather that salvation through faith in Christ results in good works.
The bad news is that there is nothing you or I can do to get into a right relationship with God. The good news is that because of Christ Jesus we don’t have to earn our way into God’s favor. Justification is found through faith in Christ alone. This is a wondrous, glorious truth. God loves us so much that He sent His Son because He knew that otherwise we could never be good enough (Romans 5:8). We just need to put our faith in Him. What an awesome God we serve!