We’ve seen how our salvation is entirely dependent on God. Jesus Christ is the one who made the complete payment for our sins. The Holy Spirit is the one who creates saving faith in our hearts. But where do our good works play into all this? That is the focus of our final key concept – works. Here are the questions we need to answer in this lesson:

• What part do good works play in our salvation?

• Why do we do good works?

• How do we do good works?

• What guidance does God give to help us learn what he considers “good”?


• 好行为在我们的拯救中起什么作用?

• 我们为什么行善?

• 我们如何行善?

• 上帝给我们什么指引来帮助我们学习什么是上帝所认为的“好”?



Please read the following passages and then answer the corresponding questions.


Romans 3:28 – We maintain that a man is justified (declared “not guilty”) by faith apart from observing the law.


Ephesians 2:8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.


Romans 11:5-6 – So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.


Romans 9:30 – The Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.


Galatians 5:4 – You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.


  1. On the basis of these passages, if you were to fill in percentages for how much our salvation is dependant on God’s grace and how much is dependent on our good works, what would those percentages be?


    Our salvation is 100___% God’s grace and 0___% our good works.


  2. What do those passages say happens if someone tries to earn salvation on their own, by relying on their own good works? (Look at the underlined portions of those passages.)


    A person who tries to earn salvation on their own by their good works will never attain salvation.

    On the basis of those passages, how would you answer that question, “WHAT PART DO GOOD WORKS PLAY IN OUR SALVATION?”


    Our good works play not part in our salvation.

    We have used the word “justification” (or “justify”) a number of times. It came up above in Romans 3:28 and Galatians 5:4. We defined this as “a legal term which means to declare someone ‘not guilty’ of sin.” It’s important to remember that our salvation is just that – a declaration of God that he makes in light of Christ’s death and resurrection.




    Please read the following passages and then answer the corresponding questions.


    Psalm 56:4 – In God I trust; I will not be afraid.


    1 John 4:19 – We love because he first loved us.


    2 Corinthians 5:14-15 – For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.


    Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.


    Romans 12:1 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – which is your spiritual worship.

    罗马书12:1 --所以弟兄们,我以神的慈悲劝你们,将身体献上,当作活祭,是圣洁的,是神所喜悦的;你们如此事奉乃是理所当然的。

  3. Psalm 56:4 gives one reason for trying to do good works that has been removed from our life. What motivator to do good works has been removed from the life of the Christian?


    The motivation of fear as a reason to do good works have been removed from our life.

    Christians have a different motivation. On the basis of those passages, how would you answer that question, “WHY DO WE DO GOOD WORKS?” (Look at the italicized portions of those passages.)


    Christians do good works out of love for the God who loves us and has saved us.



    Romans 8:7 – The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.


    Galatians 5:17 – The sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.


    Romans 7:18-19 – I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.


  4. Do we have the power, on our own, to do good works? (Look at the italicized portions of those verses.)


    We do not have the natural ability or power to do good works.

  5. Why? (Look at the underlined portions of those verses.)


    By nature, all we have is a sinful nature. Our sinful nature is spiritual unwilling and unable to do the good God requires.

    Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


    Philippians 2:13 – …for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.


    2 Corinthians 9:8 – And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.


    Titus 2:11-12 – For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.


  6. Why are we able to do good works? (Look at the italicized portions of those verses.)


    God gives us the desires and power to do good works.

  7. We said that God gets the credit for the forgiveness of sins. We said that he gets the credit for our faith. Would you have to say the same thing about our good works?


    Yes. God also gives us everything we need to do good works.

    These passages demonstrate the way that we speak about good works. We don’t speak of good works as something that we should do. Good works are something that we want to do. They are something that by the grace of God we can do. And they are something that a Christian just naturally will do. (2 Corinthians 9:8 – “…you will abound in every good work.”)


    You can illustrate it this way.


    Think about apple trees. Why is it that they produce apples? Is it because they’ll feel guilty if they don’t? Is it because they will be in some sort of trouble if they don’t produce enough fruit? That’s foolish! Apple trees produce apples because that’s just what apple trees do. It’s natural.


    Christians produce good works, not because they’ll feel guilty if they don’t, and not because they’re afraid that otherwise they’ll get in trouble with God. Christians produce God works because Christ gave them the power to do so. It’s what they naturally do! Look at the following passages.


    John 15:4-5 – [Jesus said], “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

    “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.


    Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God…


  8. Those passages tell us something about who can do good works. In order to do what God considers to be “good works,” you need to be connected to Christ. How is that connection made? (Look at Galatians 2:20.)


    Our connection to Jesus Christ is made through faith in Him.

  9. Therefore if you didn’t have faith, would you be able to do good works in God’s eyes?


    No. Without faith I cannot do good works in God’s eyes.

    On the basis of the passages that we have looked at, how would you answer that question, “HOW DO WE DO GOOD WORKS?”


    We do good works as a fruit of our faith. We do good works because God gives us both the willingness and the ability to please, honor and thank Him with our works.



    Please read the following passages and then answer the corresponding questions.


    Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.


    2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.


    Romans 7:22 – In my inner being I delight in God’s law.


    Psalm 119:35 – Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.


    1 John 5:3 – This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.


  10. According to those first two passages, where does God give us directions about how to live our lives?


    God teaches us how to live our lives in His Word.

  11. For the unbeliever, God’s laws and commands are terrifying, because they show that every person deserves punishment since no one has kept God’s commands perfectly as he requires. But according to the last three passages printed above, are God’s commands terrifying for the Christian? Why is this the case?


    No. For the Christian, God’s Word is a joy and delight. Knowing that our sins against God’s laws have been forgiven by Christ, the Law no longer condemns us and is no longer our enemy. Now we can joyfully consider the law a blessed gift from God to show us the way to live that pleases Him and fulfills the purpose for which He created and saved us.

    Matthew 22:37-39 – Jesus replied: " `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’”


    Psalm 119:104 – I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.


  12. These two passages give us a brief summary of God’s commands, and therefore a summary of how we can live a life of good works. What are the two parts of this summary?


    LOVE God________________& Our neighbor (all people)

    HATE everything that is wrong____________________

    爱 ___________________________ 和 __________________________

    恨 ________________________________________________________

    On the basis of the passages we have looked at in this portion of our Bible study, how would you answer that question, “WHAT GUIDANCE DOES GOD GIVE TO HELP US LEARN WHAT HE CONSIDERS ‘GOOD’?”


    God gives us the commands of His Law to teach us to know what He considers to be “good.”

    The technical term we use for the way God enables us to perform good works is “sanctify.” He “sanctifies us.” The word’s basic meaning is “to set apart.”


    SANCTIFY – To lead a believer to hate sin and be eager to live a life filled with good works.


    Therefore God is the one who justifies us. He declares us “not guilty of sin.” God is also the one who sanctifies us. He “sets apart” believers as his special people who love to do his will. Our “justification” is a completed action. Jesus completed it on the cross. Our “sanctification” is an ongoing action that the Holy Spirit is working inside of us. It won’t be perfectly complete until we reach heaven.


    Christians will slip in their sanctified lives. Because we are still tainted with sin, we will not always see the opportunities to do good works that God places before us. We will not always want to do them. Look again at what the Apostle Paul himself wrote to the Romans.


    Romans 7:18-19, 24-25

    I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.

    What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!

    罗马书7:18-19, 24-25



  13. Even though I don’t always do good works, I know I will live forever. Why can I be certain that I am saved?


    We can be certain that we are saved because our salvation depends completely on Jesus Christ, our Savior, and not at all on our behavior.

    This concludes our study of the four key concepts – SIN, GRACE, FAITH, & WORKS. A firm grasp on these four concepts will give you a solid foundation upon which to build with further Bible study. May God bless your study and grant you the full assurance that you are Christ’s and that Christ is yours.




A. Agree or Disagree – You can’t live a perfectly holy life until you become a Christian.


Disagree. Even Christians do not live perfectly holy lives until God takes away their sinfulness when they enter heaven. Yet God considers us holy through our Substitute and Savior, Jesus, who gives us His holiness.

B. Agree or Disagree – The work of Jesus Christ gives us the chance to win eternal life by following his example.


Disagree. We have eternal life through faith in Jesus as our Savior, not by our insufficient efforts to follow His perfect example.

C. Agree or Disagree – Christians do not go to heaven because of their good works.


Agree. We go to heaven because of the good works of Jesus Christ.

D. Agree or Disagree – I deserve some credit for the good works I do.


Disagree. Our good works done through the power of the Holy Spirit out of faith in Jesus Christ please God, but they are not meritorious. They contribute nothing to the payment Jesus made for our salvation.

E. Agree or Disagree – Christians, who are justified, still continue to commit sins.


Agree. Christians still have their sinful natures which still lead them into sin.

F. Agree or Disagree – When I sin, I lose my salvation.


Disagree. Sin weakens our faith, but we still retain our faith. If we are careless and let our faith die, we will lose our salvation, but we do not fall out of faith every time we sin.

G. Agree or Disagree – Saving faith will always produces good works. It won’t produce them perfectly.


Agree. True faith produces real good works. Yet even our best works are still tainted by by. God considers them “good” for the sake of Jesus who has won pardon for our sins. His pardoning love forgives the errors in our works, just as a loving parent “forgives” the mistakes in a small child’s art work that has been done to please the parent.

H. Agree or Disagree – Because we are justified by grace, through faith, God doesn’t care whether a Christian does good works or not. He cares whether or not we have faith.


Disagree. God does care that we obey His law and live lives of love and service toward Him and others. While our good works do not save us, they are a necessary fruit of saving faith in Jesus.

I. What do you think? Would you agree with the following statement? “The most important thing about our lives is that we do good works. It’s not so important why we do them.”


I would disagree. The most important thing is to believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior. After that the most important thing is to keep God’s command that we live lives of love and service toward God and people as a response to God’s saving love for us. God does care not only about our works but the motivation behind them. He wants them to flow from faith in Christ and love for Him.

G. What do you think? If I am saved entirely by God’s grace and my good works have nothing to do with it, why can’t I go out and commit whatever sins I want and then ask God for forgiveness later?


A person who thinks this way does not understand and appreciate what it means to be saved by God from the sin that destroys us and earns us eternal death. Thinking that it is OK to deliberately sin is an insult to the God of love and goodness and a rejection of His purpose for us that we love and do good as He does. This attitude is a despising of God’s grace and will destroy a person’s faith and cause them to forfeit heaven and go to hell.