Alistair Begg Devotional

Alistair Begg Devotional Made for Good Works

Made for Good Works

Made for Good Works

Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.

You are not here by chance but by God’s choosing. You did not invent yourself, nor did you have any part in your own creation. You were intricately knit together in the womb (Psalm 139:13). The hand of God formed you to be the person that you are; He created you at the exact moment that He desired, and He has placed you at this point in history so that you, in Christ, by grace, through faith, might do good deeds—good deeds which He has planned for you to do (Ephesians 2:10).

In other words, you have received grace upon grace that you might do good.

While the concept of “doing good” may not be our first thought when we consider the impact on ourselves of God’s transforming grace, it was virtually number one on the apostle Paul’s list. In his letter to Titus, he writes that God, in Jesus, “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14, emphasis added). This emphasis appears several times throughout the letter, culminating in Paul’s closing exhortation: “Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works.”

Paul’s particular zeal for good works was and is completely countercultural, both in his day and in our own. We live in a world that is full of enticements to pursue self-centered lives of leisure. How, then, are we to imitate Paul and excel in good deeds?

First, we need to be clear that our pursuit of good deeds does not earn God’s favor. We do not do good to be saved but because we’re saved. Without grace as its foundation, the call to virtuous living is pure externalism and will either exhaust us or puff us up. Second, we need to remember that our pursuit of good deeds does bring God pleasure; we live “not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). So, we are to be marked by God-honoring, Christ-exalting goodness as a living testimony to our great salvation.

Our ability to do good is also, Paul says, a learned behavior. We are called to “learn to devote” ourselves to goodness. Our actions shouldn’t just be the result of an emotional surge or come about only when we feel like it. Instead, we are to endeavor on a daily basis to do the kingdom work that God has planned for each one of us, and do it intentionally and habitually. And we are to look at those further on in their faith who live this kind of life and seek to learn from them.

In Christ, all of your days and all of your deeds may be good for someone and for something. Learn to begin each day asking for His help to do good to others as a response to His grace to you, trusting that He will graciously enable you to give evidence of your beliefs by your actions.

Questions for Thought

How is God calling me to think differently?

How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?

What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?

Further Reading

James 1:27–27

27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James 2:1–13

The Sin of Partiality

1My brothers,1 show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

8If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Open in Bible
1 2:1 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 5, 14

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotionals by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, 2022, The Good Book Company.

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