Can someone who’s not saved be “nice?” Can they do things that could be categorized as “good works?”
Sure. At least from a human standpoint. But there’s more to a good work than the action itself. Take a look:
Isaiah 64:6 says:
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags. (Is 64:6)
Human beings evaluate actions as they resonate according to our limited powers of perception. God, however, sees the heart. An unregenerate heart cannot produce anything that is processed as “holy” or “good” by God. We are spiritual corpses and even on our very best day, we are light years removed from what is acceptable to a Perfect and Holy King.
But as born again believers, our identity is defined according to the Perfection He awards us and now our “actions” are welcomed as “works.”
Here’s where it gets good…
Tim Tebow scores a touchdown. When he does that, is it nothing more than an addition to the scoreboard, or is it more than that?
John 15:16 says:
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. (Jn 15:16)
Because Tim makes a point of referencing his Heavenly Father as the Source of his talent and success, those touchdowns endure beyond the context of the game. Reason being is that the focus of those who are taking the time to notice Tim is now on his God and not just his throwing arm.
That’s the difference between an “action” and a “good work.” The “action” is simply the output of a human resource that is, by default, limited and flawed. The “work” may be the same kind of action from a human standpoint, but because it’s done with eye towards glorifying one’s Heavenly Father and is empowered by the Strength coming from God, it now resonates through all eternity as a good work and as fruit that will last!
Approach your day from a perspective that intentionally perceives the Divine elements that transform your actions into “works” and let that shape your outlook. It’s a different kind of day when you’re aware of your activity as being more meaningful than simply getting something done.
Go get ‘em!