Why Do Good if We Aren’t Saved by It?
Spoiler alert: You and I aren’t saved by good deeds. Now, this may not come as a surprise to some of you - especially if you’re a believer - but it could leave you wondering why you should even bother to do good if you’ll not “gain anything” out of it.
To understand this, let’s unpack the assumption that every action taken must produce a self-serving outcome for the individual.
When we think of or want to do something, the commitment to act often stems from a purpose, intent or objective. Hence, if you invest time, effort and energy into doing something, wouldn’t you want to reap the benefits of the process?
However, it’s important to know that not every action is motivated by “gain”. An action carried out can be taken to be a reaction to something - more specifically, as an act of response.
NOT JUST AN ACTION, BUT A RESPONSE
What do I mean by this? Well, just look at the way we treat our family members, loved ones and close friends in a loving relationship.
When we do anything for the people we love, we don’t necessarily “gain” anything from them. But when we perform these actions (whether it’s running an errand, cooking a meal or simply getting them a glass of water), it’s our way of responding to the love relationship we already have with them.
Simply put, since we have received love from those who love us, we then respond by doing (good) things for them. The same applies to our relationship with God.
OUR RESPONSE TO A LOVING GOD
Many times, believers like you and I will have to take a step back to stop looking at and treating God like an object. Instead, we ought to remind ourselves of the love relationship we have with Him, to treat him as a person, and to start responding to Him with our actions because of the love we have already received from Him.
Therefore, in the eyes of Christianity, the act of doing good is never seen as a means of gaining anything (like salvation). Instead, it is seen as an appropriate response to being loved.
In fact, I would like to take one step further by encouraging you to think of doing “good” as doing “what is pleasing before God”.
Doing “good” should not just come across as a physical act that is instructional and methodical, but as an act that encompasses the emotional, mental, and spiritual too. In doing good or what is right before God, you must also be able to express the fruit of the Spirit such as love, patience and kindness… (Galatians 5:22-23)
So, now that we understand that the act of doing good is a response to something rather than an act to gain something, why do we do good?
As believers who are found in a relationship with God, we then do “good” or “what is pleasing before God” as an expression of our love, in response to a love that you and I have already received from the One who loves us.