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Works (Good Works)

“…faith is intimately united to good works, which are genuine expressions of true faith. Faith and works cannot be separated.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Romans 12:9-16)

“...the difference between “works” and “good works” depends on the origin of the deed and what it exhibits. Consider your gift to a charity. What is the source of your act? Is it the desire to win the admiration of others?  Is it to need to ease your conscience about the plight of the poor?  Is it because your friend asked you for a contribution and you could not say “no”? In each case, your “work” does not come from faith nor does it demonstrate faith. On the other hand, if you give to the poor because of your love of neighbor in trust that God will supply your needs and the needs of others through you (2 Cor. 9:8),  your “good work” shows your faith.” (Fr. Basil)

“My fourth point is that this has just as much to do with who we are as what we do - what might be called the tension between being and doing. Any Christian work, in order to be truly in the service of Christ, is grounded in faith, prayer and love…prayer itself is an active ministry. This is what distinguishes Christian service from secular social work….we are not advocating the frenetic, often self-serving activity of do-gooders, who feel justified by their sacrifice of time as the pharisee felt justified by his adherence to the law… we must resist the temptation to equate sanctity with religious observance, or faith with involvement, or salvation with good works alone. It is not only the morsel of bread which we give that nourishes the hungry man - because we believe that man does not live by bread alone and that he is more than his stomach - but it is the love of Christ which is being manifested by the act of feeding that man which indeed nourishes his weary soul and may bring him to repentance and salvation.” (Denise Jillions)

“The soul is situated in the middle of the struggle between virtue and vice. If the soul uses the body as it should, it makes itself more spiritual. But if it departs from the Spirit and yields itself to evil desires, it renders it more earthy. Do you see how everywhere he [St. Paul per Galatians 5:22-6:2] is not speaking of the essence of the flesh but of moral choice that is inclined toward virtue or vice? So why does he refer to “the fruit of the Spirit”? Because evil works come from us alone, and hence he calls them works, while the good works require not only the resolution of our will but the kindness of God.” (St. John Chrysostom)

“The devil, however, starts working as soon as he sees someone living up to faith’s commitments, someone who has a reputation for virtue, who does good works. He tries to worm vanity into him, to make it possible for him to be puffed up with pride, become presumptuous, lose trust in prayer and not attribute to God the good that he does but to take all the credit himself.” (St. Ambrose of Milan)

#OrthodoxStudyBible #FrBasil #DeniseJillions #StJohnChrysostom #StAmbroseofMilan

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