Read This Week’s Passage: John 15:1–17

Are Works Actually Important?

A biblical discussion of salvation should not include works except for the sole reason of clarifying that they have no contribution to it. With books like James emphasizing the practicality of Christianity, though, some of those lines can be blurred. Maybe salvation isn’t from works, but shouldn’t there be a stronger emphasis on works? What happened to living for God?

At the risk of over-repeating, one concept needs to remain crystal clear: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast,” “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.” “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord . . . that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Eph. 2:8, 9; Gal. 2:16; Phil. 3:8, 9, emphasis supplied).

Thus, the role of works is not salvific; no one can achieve, contribute to, or earn salvation through works. So, what’s the point of them? This week’s lesson will explore the main three points: works are a natural expression of genuine faith; works of faith bring the believer into the abundant life; and works of faith show Jesus to the world.