|This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.|
|This article improperly uses one or more religious texts as primary sources without referring to secondary sources that critically analyze them. (January 2012) |
|This article is incomplete. (January 2011) |
Good works, or simply works, within Christian theology are a person's (exterior) actions or deeds, contrasting with interior qualities such as grace or faith.
In the New Testament
The New Testament exhibits a tension between two aspects of grace: the idea that grace is from God and sufficient to cover any sin (except the Unforgivable sin) and the idea that grace does not free humans from their responsibility to behave morally.
Principle of Sola fide
The Protestant principle of Sola fide states that no matter what a person's action, salvation comes through faith alone. Ephesians 2:8–9 reads, "For by grace ye are saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." (KJV) According to Protestants, salvation is God's gift at God's sole prerogative. Were it achieved by works, men could take pride in their efforts toward holiness, and God's gift of grace would be diminished in contrast to man's efforts.
A more works-orientated perspective is presented by the text of James 2:1-26, which concludes that "faith without works is dead." By works the author here appears to include both acts of charity and righteousness according to the laws of the Spirit, as opposed to Mosaic Law A recent study by Tom Drake-Brockman identifies Jesus as a prophet steeped in the Judaic social justice tradition. His book Christian Humanism: the compassionate theology of a Jew called Jesus attempts to build a new Christian theology around the proposition that Jesus predicated any salvation on good works- especially the need to express compassion- and not on faith, either in Old Covenant Judaism or in Christ as the Lord and Redeemer.