"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
God designed the work to be good because He works. His creation was a work, for example. Since the sin entered into humanity, God cursed the ground and man had to work for life. (Genesis 3:17) Somehow man started associating work with something undesirable or a "curse." Also man started separating holy works from secular works. Those who are in "holy works" felt proud and those who are in "secular works" felt like the second class citizens.
Not so, Jesus said, because it was the Pharisees and Saducees that Jesus called "hypocrites" pointing to their external religious activities without internal integrity while He complemented those who were then considered outcasts of the society referring to their good works that pleased Him and God. God's standard on works was only "good works" or "evil works."
What is good, then? Good traces back to the Genesis 1 where God saw that it was "good" after he completed each day's creation. So "good" has to be good from God's standpoint. Do you see "God" in the word "Good?" That is right! If you take "o" out of the word "good" then you have "god." On the other hand, if you take "god" out of "good" then there is "o" or nothing. In other words, there is nothing left in your "good" if you take God out of it. Make sense?
The scripture says that we Christians have to do good works because we were created to do so. It is a mandate, not an option. These good works must have good purpose and good process. The good purpose is "to bring God's glory." (1 Cor. 10:31) The good process should include "works done in Jesus name" (Col. 3:17) and "as if working for the Lord" (Col. 3:23) We should therefore ask ourselves if what I am doing has God's glory embedded in it. We should also ask if what we are trying to do is done in Jesus name and if what I am doing is done as if it is done for the Lord.
There were more, but I will stop here because it is getting too long.
Please pray that:
* the Lord helps us always remember our works have to be done for the glory of God;
* the Lord helps us do our works in the name of Jesus; and
* the Lord helps us do our works as if we do it for the Lord, not for men.
Praise the Lord for His clear explanation on good works! - Jeffrey