Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 1

Good works: the result of a right relationship with God

Philippians 1:11

Christians’ lives should be full of the good activities that God wants them to do (Acts 9:36; Ephesians 2:10). Those are the kind of good works that God approves of (James 2:14-17). These are not the kind of works that people do for the wrong reason to try to earn a right relationship with God (see Romans 4:1-2 and Ephesians 2:8-9). Rather, these are the fruit, in other words, the result of righteousness, a right relationship with God. As a tree produces fruit, so good works are the result of a right relationship with God (Psalm 1:1-3).

It is Christ who makes it possible for Christians to do those good works. Christ gives them the strength to show love to other people. By our human nature, we often feel no desire to do that – we need Christ to give us the love that we show to other people (1 John 4:19). Without Christ, we are too weak to do these things – but Christians depend upon Christ, and not on themselves (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

People often become proud if they do something good. However, a Christian should always be humble, and never proud. He knows that his power to do good things comes from God, and not from himself. So he is truly grateful to God whenever he is able to do any good thing. That Christian claims no honour for himself; he gives all the honour for that good deed to God. His relationship with God causes him to praise God constantly for his (God’s) goodness. That Christian’s own good deed shows the goodness of God – because God made it possible for him to carry out that good deed.

Next part: The progress of the gospel while Paul was in prison (Philippians 1:12)


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© 2020, Keith Simons.