Are Christians Required To Work?
In Matthew chapter 5 Christ is giving the famous “Sermon on the Mount”, and in doing so He is teaching what is expected of a true follower of God. In verse 16 Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Christ here very clearly states that as His followers we are required to do good works. In fact, we are to do good works in such a way that they are noticed by those outside of the church. Why? To show off? No that’s not it. Jesus says we are to do good works that others may see and be encouraged to glorify God. The things we do as Christians are to provide an example to the world around us of what a Christian life looks like. In the good works that we do, we are not to seek glory or credit for ourselves, but rather give God the glory for the grace and mercy He has shown to us. The good works that we do are simply the rendering of faithful obedience to God and His word and at the same time encouraging others, by our works, to also be led to follow and submit to the will of God.
In Galatians 6:10 we are instructed that as Christians that we are to be involved in good works and deeds toward all mankind. Galatians 6:10 states, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Very clearly stated, we as followers of Christ have the responsibility as individual Christians to do good works and deeds to and for as many who may have need that we have the opportunity and means to help. And we are to be even more vigilant in doing good unto those within the church. For a true Christian works are not an option, they are a requirement. James 2:17 says, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” Verse 18 explains it further, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” Again, the works of a Christians are simply displays of obedient faith in God and HIs promises. In James 2:15-16 the writer makes the point that if we see a brother or sister without clothing or if we see them hungry and without food then our faith should lead us to do a good work. Our faith must be displayed in helping meet the needs of the needy.
We must understand that we are NOT saved by works. Apart from the grace and mercy of God no work that we could do no matter how good could possibly get us to heaven. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” This is not a contradiction of James chapter 2, but rather helps explain that God’s grace in the sending of his Son to die for our sins is the absolute requirement for our salvation. Without that grace we would all be eternally lost. However, to take advantage of this grace, we are required to render total obedience and submit to the commands of God found in the pages of the Bible. Hearing, believing, repenting, confessing, and being baptized in water for the remission of sins are all requirements that must be obeyed and followed if one is to be freed from sin and become a member of the Lord’s church. In addition to obeying these things we are also required to live lives of faithful obedience to God until the time when our life on Earth comes to an end (Rev. 2:10). As a part of this faithful obedience, we are required to do good works.
- Garrett Alsip