Doctine Question #1 – The Role of Good Works

Doctrine Question #1

Salvation is only available by the grace of God, and not through our works as many cults believe. If works do not provide salvation, then what role do they play in the Christian life? (Thanks, Myke Harbuck)

(It is possible your responses will be used in the publication of a book highlighting questions Lutherans are curious about and struggle with daily. Please identify any sources you use, your name or initials, and your title (layperson acceptable) and your church membership, and denomination. We encourage the publication of official Lutheran documents to support your position.


5 Responses to “Doctine Question #1 – The Role of Good Works”
  1. Tim says:

    The use of works is the exercise of faith. The conversation about faith and works dare not separate faith from works or works from faith. Faith precedes works and works are necessary for our witness into the world and a dynamic life of discipleship. If we put works before faith we run into the wall of legalism. If we ignore works, as many Christians so, then we become gospel reductionists and antinomians…let alone Godless.

  2. Nick says:

    From the Heidelberg Catechism:

    86. Q. Since we have been delivered from our misery by grace alone through Christ, without any merit of our own, why must we yet do good works?

    A. Because Christ, having redeemed us by His blood, also renews us by His Holy Spirit to be His image, so that with our whole life we may show ourselves thankful to God for His benefits,[1] and He may be praised by us.[2] Further, that we ourselves may be assured of our faith by its fruits,[3] and that by our godly walk of life we may win our neighbours for Christ.[4]

    [1] Rom. 6:13; 12:1, 2; I Pet. 2:5-10. [2] Matt. 5:16; I Cor. 6:19, 20. [3] Matt. 7:17, 18; Gal. 5:22-24; II Pet. 1:10, 11. [4] Matt. 5:14-16; Rom. 14:17-19; I Pet. 2:12; 3:1, 2.

  3. admin says:

    God indeed calls us by grace.( Ephesians 2:8-10 )He awakens us to the state of our wretchedness when he clothes us with righteousness. How can we possibly boast about what we have become (v.9)? Before our calling, we could not please God. We knew only how to worship ourselves and our sinfulness. Now as members of the royal priesthood, we are caught in both kingdoms with the freedom to worship ourselves or to worship God. (Rm 7:19)

    Few Lutherans fear their works are contributing to their salvation, but I know when I examine my heart closely, I often find myself worshipping my own works in my daily work. God calls me to a life of work and worship but because of my propensity to worship, my work can often become my idol. If I find my value and worth solely by my works, I end up worshipping myself and my handiwork. Rather, if my work reflects my gratitude to Christ for what he has done, and he receives all the glory, then my work becomes my daily expression of worship.

    Finally, just as salvation was not by our choosing or doing (v.8), God has also prepared our table with works for us to do (v.10). We are created in Christ Jesus for good works! God does not guaranty our works or calling will be ones we find pleasing, but we are to be obedient and walk in these good works every day. How do you know what works he has for You to do today? You only need to ask God to show you the works and work that will help you to express your utmost gratitude for what he has already done for you when he imputed Christ’s righteousness in you. In doing so, your Lutheran liturgy of work will be one of Lutheran joyous living. DB- St. Johns Lutheran Orange, CA- LCMS

  4. Jack Darnell says:

    Why must we do good works? I believe the question really is “How can we not do good works?” Faith in Christ produces good works in the believer. It is almost like the Grace of the father. Unasked for, undeserved,and something that is truly uncontrolled by the believer. True Faith will produce good works. The believer cannot help himself.

  5. Thomas Simmons says:

    Lutheran teaching about works seems to be so negative that even though there are writings on us as Christians doing works, as a Lutheran I don’t see works being stressed for us in our (my) daily life.

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