… God gets the glory for our good works.

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

—1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

What is a work of faith? Protestant Christians often shutter at the mention of works, those things that became a major point of contention in the 16th century when Martin Luther sounded the alarm against the Catholic Church. At that time, the Church of Rome took payment from people for the forgiveness of their sins. Luther called out this grievous error for clearly contradicting scripture’s claim that forgiveness of sins and salvation from God’s wrath comes only through faith in Christ and the atoning power of the cross.

And so we definitely don’t want to fall back into the error of seeing human effort as the determining factor in salvation.

But… effort and labor does have a place in the life of the Christian. Here in 1 Thessalonians, Paul is praising God for the good works of the church in Thessalonica. He goes on in chapter 1 to praise them, for they “received the word in much affliction” and “became an example to all the believers”. He is especially impressed with how they “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God”. Paul is rejoicing and giving thanks to God for the faith that is being displayed through the works of the Christians of Thessalonica.

The works of faith in those Christians are simply evidence of the saving power of God at work in their lives. Just as a seed is planted and bears fruit, God plants the good news of Jesus in someone’s heart, and when it grows it produces the fruit of good works. Fruit is the evidence that a healthy plant. Good works are the evidence of a healthy faith in Christ. This is why James can so boldly says, “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works,” (James 2:18). A people that are saved by faith should necessarily be a people who live out their faith through good works.

So what are the good works of the faithful people of Grace Church? What labors of love have best demonstrated our faith and steadfast hope in our Lord Jesus Christ?

This Sunday evening when we gather to pray, as preparation for our upcoming annual meeting, we’re going to give praise and glory to God for the works of faith that have been displayed through Grace Church. As the strength of our faith has revealed itself through our actions, we want to celebrate that and thank the Lord for His faithfulness to us.

But also, let us be mindful that there is more for us to do. As long as we are on this earth we must continue to make known the fulness of the love of Christ that we share. So we will also spend some time Sunday evening asking the Lord to guide us forward to be a greater example of His power and love.

So come and pray with us. Let’s seek Him together and give God the praise and glory that is due His name. Let it be said that “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them,” (Ephesians 2:10).

In Christ,


Director of Worship Arts