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How Is it Possible for Us to Do Good Works?

Biblical Authority Devotional: True Identity, Part 7

by Steve Ham on May 9, 2011
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Steve Ham, AiG–U.S., discusses the importance of depending on God in everything we do.

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! (Psalm 90:17 (ESV))

Today’s big question: how is it possible for us to do good works?

Reality check 6: Our dependency on God never ends.

Even as mature believers, it’s easy to place too much emphasis on our own doings. We are involved in so many wonderful activities that we often forget they may be completed only because of God’s grace in our lives.

Today, the psalm finishes with an encouraging statement about God’s favor upon us. Although many people futilely attempt to reach heaven by good works as if salvation is something they can achieve, Psalm 90 tells us that only by God’s favor and establishment may we serve Him and others. Good works are an evidence of God’s outpouring of grace in our lives (Ephesians 2:8–10).

As people who have been shown the somber reality of our mortality and our utter dependence on Him for salvation, we seek His favor in our lives. We live to please Him. He is the desire of our hearts. He is the satisfaction of our days

Burdened with mortality and slavery to sin is a far cry from being a servant of the living God. Why would we care about God’s favor if we have rejected the seriousness of our own mortality and His salvation? This is why salvation is such a miracle. It is not just a decision or a change of eternal residence. Salvation is a transformation. The people of God desire His favor. We aim to please God rather than self, and it requires our ongoing dependency upon Him to equip and strengthen us to serve.

The closing verse of Psalm 90 is a verse of commitment to spiritual dependency. It is as if we are asking, “Lord, be pleased with what we do for You, and please equip us to do what pleases You.” We will never stop being dependent on God. Rejection of dependency on God brought sin into this world. Rejection of dependency on God keeps people from salvation. Even for us who receive salvation, it’s all too easy to take our eyes off our dependency on Him, even in our attempts to please Him.

Total dependency is our human identity. Where we direct that dependency not only has eternal consequences but also determines everything we do and how we do it. Will you depend on the Creator—the only one who does not depend on anything or anyone (Acts 17:25)—or will you depend on yourself or others, who, whether they realize it or not, must depend on God for each breath?

Today’s big idea: we must always depend on Jesus.

What to pray: ask God to keep our eyes on Him and not self.   

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