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Being made in God’s image, human beings perform works as they live in God’s world in relationship with other human beings. What deeds they perform cannot be isolated from the state of their hearts and their motivation (Ps.28.3-Ps.28.4). Works done out of evil motivation are “acts of the sinful nature” (Gal.5.19). Works done in order to earn the favorable judgment of God at the end of life—seeking justification by works—are not acceptable for this end (Rom.3.20; Gal.2.16; 2Tim.1.9). True works, in which God delights, are those that arise from an inward gratitude to God for his goodness and salvation. These spring from faith, the faith that holds to Christ as Savior and Lord (Eph.2.10; Col.1.10). While Paul emphasized the need for faith leading to faithfulness to God in good deeds, James (facing a different situation) emphasized that genuine good works are the evidence of true faith (Jas.2.14ff.).——PT

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

See, further, JUSTIFICATION.

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