But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was (James 1:22-24).
We are saved by the grace of God and not by our human efforts or works. Because of this many feel that works are not important to God, but that is just not true. Our after salvation works are proof that we really believe! James said that faith without works is lifeless faith. In real life, if we say we have faith but we never act like it, then we have dead faith! A person who says that he is born again but shows absolutely no evidence of lifestyle change, has dead faith. And according to James, that person is not saved.
J.C. Ryle, an English Bishop in the 1800’s said: Where there is no sanctification, there is no regeneration, and where there is no holiness of life, there is no new birth. This is no doubt a hard saying, but it is a simple Bible truth. J.C. Ryle also said: Tell me not of your justification, unless you have some marks of sanctification. Boast not of Christ’s work for you, unless you can show us the Spirit’s work in you.
The bottom line is that our works are important to God. At the judgment seat of Christ we will be rewarded for what we have done after salvation. Notice 2 Corinthians 5:10(Amplified): For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive his pay according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil; considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing.
Throughout scripture we find that works are examined by God. He gives to every man according to his works! Some simple research of “works” with a Bible concordance will surprise you with how much emphasis God places on what we do. In addressing the seven churches in Revelation chapters two and three, Jesus mentioned their works in every instance!
Let’s balance this out. Yes, we are saved by grace. And a quote from A.B. Simpson is one of my favorites: You have not been saved by grace to live by works! Our works righteousness is as filthy rags. Our works don’t save us. God’s grace through the sacrifice of Christ redeems us!
However, our post salvation works determine our position and rewards in eternity. And, according to James, our works are evidence of what we really believe!
I’ll close this with a Quote from John Wesley:
Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”