Thursday, April 14, 2011

Every Good Work

… being fruitful in every good work. (Colossians 1:10)

Yesterday we talked about a life of fruitfulness, what it means to be fruitful. Now let’s talk about “every good work.” In Ephesians, Paul tells us that salvation and grace and faith are the gift of God.

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. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10).
“Good works” are not the cause or basis of salvation but the result or benefit of salvation. They come from God, because we are His workmanship, His “doing.” They come through Jesus the Messiah, because of the new life we have in Him and the life He lives in us.

“Every good work” is one of Paul’s favorite phrases; we find it a number of times in his letters. The author of Hebrews also uses it, and in a way that sounds very much like Paul.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. (Titus 3:1-2)

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 12:20-21)
The grace of God supplies us, equips, prepares us, establishes us and makes us complete in every good work. He even supplies for us in our finances (which is the context of 2 Corinthians 9), so that we may always have all we need, plus abundance so we have something to give for “every good work.” He supplies the seed and even multiplies it to “increase the fruit of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God” (2 Corinthians 9:10-11; see Seed is for Sowing). From beginning to end, it is God at work in us, to bless us and make us a blessing to others and a praise to Him.

“Every good work” does not mean that we are always doing everything all the time. After all, we do have to sleep! What it does mean, though, is that no matter what times and circumstances we find ourselves in, there is always something we can offer, some good we can do, some fruit we can bring forth to bless others. As we pay attention to where God has placed us, what He has supplied and how the Holy Spirit is working in us, and we yield ourselves, God will lead us.

*For more about the pastoral prayers found in the New Testament, see Praying With Fire: Change Your World with the Powerful Prayers of the Apostles.

The Focus of Our Faith
The Focus of Our Faith
Paul’s Letters to the Jesus Believers at Colosse
Bite-Size Studies Through Colossians
by Jeff Doles

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