Working Lights

Your good works are a crucial complement to the preaching of the word.

Christ said that the purpose of letting our light shine in good works is that that they may “glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16b). Ley said, “All good children seek their fathers’ honour,”[12]and so must we, if we are children of God. Poole said, “You are not in your good actions to aim at yourselves, to be seen of men, as Matthew 6:1, nor merely at doing good to others;… but having a primary and principal respect to the glorifying of your Father; for, ‘Herein is my Father glorified, if ye bear much fruit’ (John 15:8).”[13]

 

How can we be salt and light in our world, so that instead of being “trodden under foot” or “hidden under a bushel” (vv. 13, 15), we can resist evil and do good, and moving unbelievers to glorify God as our Father in heaven?  To answer that question, let’s listen to the wisdom of the English Puritans.

Your Spiritual Light Must Be Seen in Your Works

Christ said, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works” (Matt. 5:15–16a). It would be ridiculous to turn on a lamp and then hide it, when its very purpose is to illuminate the room. 

John Ley (1583–1662) wrote, “God intends that his graces given to his ministers or people, should be used for the good of others and not kept for their own good only.”[1]Keach said, “Though the saints should do nothing through vain glory, i.e.to be seen of men; yet their good works, and holy walkings should be so done, that others should see them.”[2]

God’s glory becomes visible in the good works of His children. Baxter quoted Tertullian: “We do not talk great things, but live them.”[3]Examine yourself: Is your Christianity mostly talk, or is it the power of God producing good works? As a Christian, are you a great talker, or a great doer? Henry wrote, “Those about us must not only hearour good words, but seeour good works; that they may be convinced that religion is more than a bare name, and that we do not only make a profession of it, but abide under the power of it.”[4]

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