God looks for reality. He is not satisfied with mere words of high profession. He says to us, "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in "deed" and in "truth". He, blessed be His name, did not love us in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth;; and He looks for a response from us - a response clear, full, and distinct; a response coming out in a life of good works, a life yielding mellow clusters of the "fruits of righteousness which are by Christ Jesus, to the glory and praise of God."
Ought we not diligently to seek to promote love and good works? And how can this be most effectually accomplished? Surely by walking in love ourselves, and faithfully treading the path of good works in our own private life. For ourselves, we confess we are thoroughly sick of hollow profession. High truth on the lips and low practice in daily life, is one of the crying evils of this our day. We talk of grace; but fail in common righteousness - fail in the plainest moral duties in our daily private life. We boast of our "position" and our "standing;" but we are deplorably lax as to our condition and state.
May the Lord, in His infinite goodness, stir up all our hearts to more thorough earnestness, in the pursuit of good works, so that we may more fully adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things!
It is very interesting and instructive to compare the teaching of Paul and James - two divinely inspired apostles - on the subject of "works." Paul utterly repudiates "law-works". James jealously insists upon "life-works". If this fact be seized, all difficulty vanishes; and the divine harmony is clearly seen. Many have failed to do this, and hence have been much perplexed by the seeming difference between Romans 4:5, and James 2:24. "To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness," he refers to law-works. When James says, "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only," he refers to life-works. This is abundantly confirmed by the two cases adduced by James in proof of his thesis, namely, Abraham offering up his son and Rahab concealing the spies. If you abstract faith from these cases, they were bad works. Look at them as the fruit of faith, and they were "life-works."
How marked is the far-seeing wisdom of the Holy Spirit in all this! He foresaw the use that would be made of this passage; and hence, instead of selecting works abstractedly good, He takes up two from the history of four thousand years, which, if they were not the fruit of faith, were bad works.
Galatians 5:22 The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These are the "Life-works" of which we are to allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives; as opposed to "law-works" which we ourselves try to produce in ourselves.