What does the Bible teach about the place of works?
The Bible teaches that a “good work” is defined both by its action and its motivation. Once someone is regenerated through the Holy Spirit by faith in Jesus Christ, they are born-again as new creations. They then produce the fruit of true faith, which includes the proclamation of the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, when one truly believes and has saving faith (the right roots), they will do good works and produce (the right fruits).
Only a believer who understands that he has already been saved can truly perform good works. Good works are motivated by thankful love for God, not a need to prove one’s worthiness or earn salvation. Good works glorify God and not man.
Good works are the natural response of all believers. It is like breathing to someone who is alive. Because God did everything, including giving believers the gift of faith, Christians center their lives on praising him. Christ is at the center of their lives.
Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done wonderful things,
things planned long ago.
What does Mormonism teach about good works?
Although Mormonism teaches that works should be motivated by thankfulness to God, they are a necessary part of one's progression. A “good work” is defined by its action. The greater the sacrifice, the greater the work, the greater the increase in a Mormon’s worthiness and the greater their progression to godhood.
Mormonism teaches that while God did his part to set the stage, it is now up to individual Mormons to strive to be worthy, to do all they can do to progress to godhood and receive the power and glory that comes with it.
Only through sacrifice can we become worthy to live in the presence of God. Only through sacrifice can we enjoy eternal life. Many who have lived before us have sacrificed all they had. We must be willing to do the same if we would earn the rich reward they enjoy.
Gospel Principles, Chapter 26: Sacrifice
Why this Matters
The idea that my effort, my works, my faith, my response, and my obedience keep me in God’s good graces undermines the clear biblical teaching that things between Christians and God are forever settled because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross.
Believing that our work adds anything to our worthiness indicates to God that we’d rather stand on our record than be covered by Christ’s righteousness. God’s Word is clear: There is nothing we can do to earn the free gift of eternal life.
Why then do Christians do good works?
Christians recognize that they have been freed from sin to do good works. God now works in and through believers due to our new life through Christ. Rather than a duty or obligation, works are done in response to Christ’s saving work. Forever freed from our need to pay back God or secure his love, we are now free to love and serve others.
1 John 4:19
VIDEO: What do Mormons Believe About Faith & Works?
What Bible Verses should you share with a Mormon?
Some Bible passages communicate better than others to Mormons. Our booklet provides 14 practical examples along with ways to explain them that clearly convey God's truth to Mormons.
Good works are about giving God all the glory.
Good works are about increasing worthiness to advance progression to godhood.