People who are justified by Jesus and born again by the Spirit have a life in which their faith manifests itself in good works. In this way, the faith is seen in the good works that are birthed from regeneration.
Jesus’ word picture in Matthew 7:15–20 is wonderfully clear in explaining how born again people live:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”
Jesus’ point is that a Christian is like a healthy tree that bears fruit in the form of good works done as acts of worship out of a new heart that loves God. He contrasts the regenerated person with a diseased tree, the unregenerated person who bears bad fruit because his life is simply the harvest of his heart. That is what Jesus meant when He said in Matthew 7:21, which was part of the original question on which this chapter is based, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
We are not saved by but to our good works. Ephesians 2:8–10 says it this way: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Therefore, you do not have to do good works so that God will save you; rather, if you are justified and regenerated, you get to do good works because Jesus already has saved you.
Why? Because you cannot meet Jesus without changing. And, that is what being born again is all about!
Have you given yourself and sin to Jesus Christ and been born again? If not, please make the decision to become a new person through a new relationship with Jesus starting today!