157. Acts of righteousness.
'Fine linen, bright and clean was given her to wear. Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.' (Revelation 19:8) Acts of righteousness do matter when rewards are given. However, we are not justified (meaning declared righteous) by works but were justified for works; works that the Lord prepared in advance for us to do after being justified. 'For we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.' (Ephesians 2:10) Therefore, our deeds must be found complete when we stand before him lest we lose our reward, though not our salvation! (1 Corinthians 3:13-15) Speaking of the Church in Sardis, the one who stood among the seven lampstands said, "I know your deeds; you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead ... for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God." (Revelation 31-2) Our reputation for charity is not enough if our spirits are dead! Neither will our reputation for zeal matter, if we are not doing the Lord's will. Many boast of having done great things for God which they were never assigned to do. But doing exactly what the Lord commands is obedience. When Saul failed to obey the instructions of the Lord to completely destroy the Amalekites , the prophet Samuel rebuked him saying, "To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed is better than the fat of rams ... because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king." (1 Samuel 15:13-23) So it is not about doing something for Lord but in finishing the task assigned to us, big or small! Paul made his assignment his obsession! "I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of his grace." (Acts 20:24) Our 'acts of righteousness' are not to our glory but are a testimony to the Lord. "Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." But if done in secret, "then your Father who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:1-4) 'Let's not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.' (Galatians 6:9-10) Amen.