Jesus will give to us according to what we have done when He returns

When Jesus comes back He will reward us according to what we have done:

 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. (Revelation 22:12 NIV)

This verse should scare us, since we have all done wicked things:

But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away.
And there is no one who calls on Your name,
Who stirs himself up to take hold of You;
For You have hidden Your face from us,
And have consumed us because of our iniquities. (Isaiah 64:6-7 NKJV)

How then is there any hope for us, since Jesus will judge us “according to our works?” The answer is found in the writings of the Apostle Paul:

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. 10 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 NKJV)

What this means is that we cannot save ourselves by our good works, since our best works apart from the grace of God are like filthy rags. But we can be saved for good works. That means, when we believe in Jesus Christ and repent of our sins God changes us and allows us to produce genuine good works.

Here’s the point that I am making: YES, human beings are capable of doing genuinely good works, BUT, only by the power of God. We cannot do them ourselves. Those who refused to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation will ultimately do selfish works. But those who have truly repented and believed in the blood of Christ will do good works.

There is nothing we can brag about, for all our good works come from God.

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6 Responses to Jesus will give to us according to what we have done when He returns

  1. Ben P says:

    What then about atheists who perform good works? Is any good work an atheist appears to do not actually a good work, or is he not actually an atheist? Or does the power of God work through someone regardless of whether or not they even believe in God, let alone the saving power of Jesus? If the latter, what difference does it make to believe in Jesus and repent of your sins if God works through anyone, regardless of whether or not they believe in Jesus and repent of their sins?

  2. schildan10 says:

    Thanks for the comment.

    Concerning the necessity of repentance, nobody, atheist or otherwise can redeem themselves by doing a genuinely good work without repentance. Hitler would still be guilty for the slaughter of the Jews even if he genuinely gave money to charity from the bottom of his heart. His lack of repentance for his sins makes his good works worthless in the sight of God. I use this well-worn comparison because of the fact that our sins are really, really bad. A lot of the common debate on this issue comes from the fact that people’s pride does not let them accept how bad their sins truly are.

    Concerning the necessity of faith, it matters what you believe. Your beliefs will profoundly effect your actions. You as a scientist know that a person will not succeed in developing a vaccine if he has his facts about the physical world wrong. Likewise, a person will not succeed in “developing” good works if he has his facts about the spiritual world wrong. If He does not believe in the one true God He will not be completely capable of understanding what a truly good work is in the first place. Truth comes from God, it can not be learned by flawed human intellect alone. Fortunately God is loving and gracious. He will give us what we need to know if we beg him for it. God does not deceive us, rather he allows the proud and unrepentant to deceive themselves.

    • Ben P says:

      It sounds like you are saying that an atheist is unlikely to do a good work as a non-scientist is to develop a vaccine. Yet examples abound of atheists doing good works–volunteering for the poor, ministering to the needy, donating to charities, etc. What do you make of this? Would you say they are not really atheists, or that their deeds are not really good, that good deeds are possible without God, or that God works even through atheists? And if the latter: if God works through even atheists, how then are their actions different from a believer’s actions?

  3. schildan10 says:

    I believe that works not done to glorify God are done to glorify self. A work that is done to hide one’s sin is a tainted work. A true good work can only be done by those who admit their sin and glorify God’s grace rather than their own greatness.

    A good work done towards a neighbor for the purpose of deceiving others about past sins against your neighbor is not a good work. An atheist is incapable of acknowledging the extent of his past sins because he does not acknowledge God.

    • Ben P says:

      So a good work can only be known not by the goodness of the work being done, but by the motivation of the person doing the work? In other words, that the definition of a good work is a good work done by a good Christian? That seems to be simply defining away the question I posed. Not to mention inconsistent with what you described in your post, where the problem with good works done without the grace of God is not that they aren’t good works at all, but that they aren’t efficient to save oneself. I’m not asking whether you think it’s possible for an atheist to save himself (I’m pretty sure I already know the answer to that one!) but whether you think it’s possible for an atheist to do a good work.

  4. schildan10 says:

    My short answer is that no, an atheist cannot do a good work, because it is not measured by the outcome (God, in his mercy allows good to come from evil actions) but by the motivation. All human beings are incapable of doing a good deed with a pure heart until they face up to their sins, which requires faith in Jesus Christ.

    But I don’t want you to think I hate atheists, because I am commanded to love all. Atheists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Agnostics are all in the same boat. None of us can point to our accomplishments and claim to be inherently better than anyone else. If I were to answer “yes” to your question–that a person can do a good work without faith–then I would be giving you a basis to take pride in your own accomplishment. The only pride we ought to have is pride in Christ’s accomplishments. If we can do good without God’s help, than we can rightfully claim to be better than certain other people. But the truth of the gospel leaves no place for this kind of pride.

    “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6)

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