“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:8
Doing good works for God is sort of a paradox. We read in scripture that we should reach out and help others. But then we are told that those good works are not what will usher us into the Kingdom of Heaven. What gives?
God created us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows that if He tells us to do good works, that is what we will focus on. It is so, so easy to get immersed in doing “God’s work” or “The work of the church” that we miss the point.
It is much easier to work on our outside, that everyone sees, than it is to work on the inside, that only God sees. He wants us to get our hearts right, so that the good works are a consequence of our love for others – a love that only comes through drawing close to Him.
So yes, He wants us to do good. But He wants us to do it because of a changed heart – because that is when we receive our real reward, and those are the real good works.