Written by cycleguy on March 24th, 2020

John Piper writes:

At the heart of Christianity is the truth that we are forgiven and accepted by God, not because we have done good works, but to make us able and zealous to do them.  (p.90)

I remember hearing once that Martin Luther, who believed very strongly in justification by faith, tore the book of James out of his Bible (true or not I don’t know) because James wrote, “Faith without works is dead.” (Js.2:26)  He further complicated Luther’s thinking with more words: “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (v.18) He also wrote, “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” (v.24)

What Luther missed is what Piper is saying. We are not saved by our works, but we do good works because we are saved. It is not “I do for” but “I do because.” As my conversion takes hold of my heart, life, and thinking, it comes out in my doing.

Sorry Martin. Good works are involved. Not in the salvation process, but as an outgrowth of our salvation. My good deeds do not save me, but they do show I have been saved by God’s grace.

Quote from The Passion of the Christ by John Piper.


11 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ryan S says:

    Important distinction… Out of my Faith in Christ comes the works, the goodness, the fruit.

  2. As I see it … there is nothing we can do to repay God for what He has done for us. He loves us and has redeemed us through Jesus.

    A lot of people get this wrong. Including Catholics. They think a lot of candles and Rosaries and good works will stamp their passports for entry into Heaven. Of course we should do these things. But we do them as a sign of devotion, and love and worship. Not as payments for something we expect later on.

    God bless.

    • cycleguy says:

      i agree there is not way we can repay God for what He has done through Christ’s death and sacrifice. thanks for the comment Victor

  3. Amen, Bill! We do good works because we have been saved. It’s never the other way around.

  4. Linda Stoll says:


    Whatever we do, whoever we are, anything good we offer is because of Jesus!

    I am so grateful!

  5. floyd says:

    Well said and summed up!