Not so long ago I was talking to a friend of mine who serves as a nurse and he was telling me what it was like when he first announced this to his family, his career choice. He said they were ecstatic. They couldn’t believe that he chose a profession that was so selfless. That he was going to use his time and energy to serve people in need. Especially as they’re sick and suffering and in the hospital. He said that there were some relatives of his that even said “oh by choosing this profession you know you’re a shoo-in for heaven?”
I got the impression that they thought by choosing this profession he was doing many good works that would earn him a place in heaven. They said even for a while he himself thought in this way, but after studying God’s Word carefully he came to know the way of salvation. One place in the Bible that clearly tells us the way of salvation is Ephesians Chapter 2 verses 8 through 10. And it also tells us the proper role of good works in the Christians life. It says this there.
Indeed, it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
That section of scripture plainly tells us how we get to heaven, how we are saved: by grace you have been saved, through faith. It’s not of ourselves, not because of any good works that we do, but because of God’s undeserved love for sinners.
In fact we can’t even do that good work of coming to faith, God must do that in us. It’s 100% a free gift. What a comfort that is for us in our own lives. We never have to worry, have I done enough to earn heaven? Maybe I need to choose this career field or that career field to make sure that I do all of those good works to get into heaven. Rather God assures us heaven is yours in Christ because he has done everything necessary for your salvation.
Does this mean then that God doesn’t care about good works at all? No as it says in our text, for we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works. It tells us there that God wants us to do good works, in fact he created us. He gave us new life, faith in Christ, to do good works, to live lives of service to him. We want to live and to serve our Lord, not to earn heaven, but ultimately to say thank you for what he has done for us in Christ.
If you ever wonder for yourself, well, what is a good work? Go no further than the Scriptures themselves as God has laid out for us his commands, learning his word what is right and what is wrong. Desire to follow those commands and know that through them, through following them, they are pleasing in God’s sight. Pleasing works done in gratitude for what he has done for us.
No matter what your job whether it’s a nurse or any other profession you might have realize you don’t earn heaven by the good works that you do. Rather, it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, yet desire to do good works, good works that are pleasing to God out of thankfulness for everything that he has given to you. Amen.