We, as humans, think that we should balance out our bad deeds with good deeds. Mentally, we keep “record” of the bad things we have done, and then we try to balance it out by doing some good deeds in an effort to justify ourselves.
The Bible does say that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20) and that “by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). Further reading of this passage reveals the example of Abraham, who believed, and the works that he did followed his faith in God’s instructions and provision (Genesis 22:1-14, Hebrews 11:19). The “works” mentioned in the Book of James are NOT trying to justify ourselves in God’s eyes through “good deeds”. The Bible is clear that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), and that we are only “justified by His blood” (Romans 5:9), the Blood that Jesus Christ shed for us on the cross at Calvary. (See also Hebrews 9:22, 1 Peter 1:18-19.) God wants our works to be done out of our love for Him, doing good deeds to other people because we want to please our LORD (not justify ourselves), and reading the Bible and praying to God because we desire fellowship with our Creator.
As we sincerely desire a love relationship with Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us (Ephesians 5:25), He will work the good works in our hearts (Philippians 1:6 & 2:13). We, as humans, like to try to be “in control”, DOING things to buy His favour. This is not at all what He requires. He wants us to LOVE Him, above all else. (Luke 10:27)
This relationship between me and God was NOT initiated by me, or “earned” by any good thing I may have done. His love for us, His mercy and grace, His kindness, is so great that the God of all the universe, the Creator of all things, desires a relationship with us – broken, frail, sinful human beings.
Our relationship with God (through Jesus Christ, our mediator) is from Him. He is the One Who does the good works in our hearts and through us. It was never about us – but it always has been and always will be about Jesus Christ, our God. All the glory and honour is due to Him! (Revelation 4:11)
1 John 4:19
We love Him, because He first loved us.
“Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My Name, He may give it you.” ~ Jesus Christ
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
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. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”