Yesterday’s Gospel – Good Works
The last section of yesterday’s Gospel reading really stuck out to me.
The section (Luke 14:12-14) reads as:
“And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, ‘When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.‘”
This passage shows us that we will be “blessed” and “repaid” for our good works. This passage, by itself, is damning to the Protestant idea of “faith alone.”
But also look at the last bit of yesterday’s Old Testament reading.
The last verse (Sirach 3:30, in RSV) reads as:
“Water extinguishes a blazing fire: so almsgiving atones for sin.“
Now, this passage comes from Sirach, a book of the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament), so most Protestants probably will not accept its validity. However, it illustrates the importance of almsgiving, a good work.
Of course, Protestants might respond with (if they even recognize it at all), “But that’s from the Old Testament, so it doesn’t count!” And from there, you could point out that the Law is not invalid (Matthew 5:18). The “old” Law, which is basically a form of the Law in the context of Israel and its culture, is certainly mostly invalid for Christians. But the “new” Law that Christ gave us, which is basically the pure and universal form of the Law, is not.
The “new” Law commands us to do good works: to give to the poor (Luke 12:33), to care for the orphaned and the widowed (James 1:27), etc.
Good works are extremely important for our salvation. We will be judged “according to [our] deeds” (Revelation 20:13).
Remember: Faith AND works are important, but both only matter because of God’s grace.
(All verses are from the NASB translation, unless otherwise noted.)