Last week we saw that a Christian becomes progressively more and more sanctified (holy) before God. But the question can then be raised, why do we need to do good works? If Christ has already earned our salvation and all we have to do is repent and believe, then why should we have to do good works? This is the question I want to answer over the coming weeks.

Firstly, Christians are obedient to God in doing good works because they have died to sin. Sin is no longer something they should want to do, it has been killed in them at the cross. Paul makes this very clear when he answers the charge that if God is shown to be gracious in forgiving sin then we should sin more: ‘What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?’ (Romans 6:1-2).

What does it mean to have died to sin? Well when we put our faith in Christ that means our sinful selves are crucified with him at the cross: ‘For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-because anyone who has died has been freed from sin’ (Romans 6-7). If we have put our faith in Christ then we have been freed from sin so that it is possible for us to serve God rather than sin.

Jesus did not save us so that we can go on sinning. He gave his life so that we are free to do good works: ‘For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do’ (Ephesians 2:10). Another good verse on this is 2 Corinthians 5:15: ‘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.’ Someone who thinks that they don’t need to do good works because Christ has done everything necessary for salvation, has not understood how terrible sin is in God’s eyes. Just as parents do not put all their time and energy into their children so that they can be little terrors around the house, God has not saved you so that you can fill your life with what he hates.

Are you lying to yourself that Jesus died and gave you life so that you can serve yourself? This is impossible and such a belief makes a mockery of Jesus’ death. I hope that all who read this have died to sin and been raised to life to serve the living God.

Joel Radford.