I knew a guy who professed faith who was adamant about not having to do good works. He would quote Ephesians 2:8 and 9 in every conversation we ever had. “It’s not by works of righteousness.”
I would always follow up his quote with verse 10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Doing good works is the whole point of getting saved and remaining on earth, see.
He would then say, “Nope, you’ve gone too far.”
“What do you mean? It’s the next verse?!”
I never did understand that one.
For him, doing good works was the grossest sin a Christian could commit. I have met many in this camp of thought and I don’t understand them.
One day, shortly after getting out of jail, he said to me, “Jeff, I just don’t get it, I’ve been saved for all these years and yet I don’t see any fruit in my life.”
I have always enjoyed softball. This was a softball right down the middle.
“Well yeah, of course! You don’t think you need to do good works, so if you don’t do good works you won’t have any fruit.” Then I loosely quoted Titus 3:14, “And let our’s also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.”
No works=no fruit.
People have the idea that the Holy Spirit shows up in your life and automatically begins to spew forth fruit through no effort of your own. “It’s like a tree, man. Trees just sit there and do nothing all day and boom! fruit shows up!”
You do understand that fruit and trees are a metaphor, correct?
There is an extent to which, yes, the fruit grows from the energy and feed the Spirit provides, but the tree, even though it’s not going anywhere, is still doing stuff with what is provided it. If the tree did not have some part to play in it, you would never see a living tree next to a dead tree.
Paul specifically tells us that we do good works to get fruit.
I am stunned at how many Christians complain about how ineffectual their faith seems to be while maintaining that they never have to do anything. It’s like people hammering their thumb wondering why their thumb hurts all the time.