Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:9-11
“Therefore, whether we are at home [on earth] or away from home [and with Him], it is our [constant] ambition to be pleasing to Him. For we [believers will be called to account and] must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be repaid for what has been done in the body, whether good or bad [that is, each will be held responsible for his actions, purposes, goals, motives—the use or misuse of his time, opportunities and abilities].” [2 Corinthians 5:9-10 Amplified Bible]
According to Paul our eternal ambition is to be pleasing to God [verse 9]. This is our desire whether on earth or with the Lord. This is a clear distinguishing mark of a Christian believer – the ambition to please God.
It is impossible for us to come to know God as a result of our good works. We cannot earn the love of Jesus by the things we do. That is a settled fact. Salvation is a gift, and if we do anything to pay for it then it is no longer a gift.
Paul also writes in this passage that every believer must appear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive according to the things that they have done, whether good or bad! While good works cannot save us, good works are the evidence that we are saved. Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them” [Matthew 7:20]. Although salvation is not a reward for good works, once we become God’s children we will be rewarded for our good works.
The foundation for life is Jesus Christ, but on that foundation we have to build. Paul makes this clear in his first epistle to the Corinthians, “Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames” [1 Corinthians 3:12-15]. How we build and the works we do are important. Yes, we are saved, but it could have been so much better if we had done the works that God wanted us to do.
Perhaps one of the loveliest stories in the Book of Acts is about a woman named Tabitha [Acts 9:36-43]. She was full of good works and charitable deeds. She died but all the widows showed Peter the tunics and garments that she had made for them while she was alive. Peter prayed and she came back from the dead. God has special honour and rewards for His children who are full of good works.
Good works cannot save us but good works are very important. Why are good works so important?
Read James 2:14-26. What does James say about the relationship between faith and works?