This is my sixth post in a series on the unaltered Augsburg Confession. A full copy of which you can find HERE. Three older blog posts which I would recommend reading if you have not are The Three Uses of the Law and Repentance. Though I have not blogged much on defining good works those would be helpful for this topic.
“We teach that this faith must bring forth good fruits and that one must do the good works commanded by God, in accord with God’s will. However, one must never rely on such works to earn justification in God’s eyes. For we receive forgiveness of sins and justification only by faith. Christ himself says, “When you have done everything … say, ‘We are unworthy servants”‘ (Luke 17:10). The church fathers teach this same thing. Ambrose says, “God has established that whoever believes in Christ freely receives the forgiveness of sins. He is saved without works, by faith alone.”– The Unaltered Augsburg Confession
We should expect that when we become Christians we will have the desire to do good works and for sin to be pruned from our lives. We should also expect not to notice this personally. You’re only going to become more convicted of your sin in the Christian life and actually feel a great deal of guilt. This is why it is so important for us to hear the gospel as often as possible.
I don’t believe that we should “fruit check” people’s good works. It’s my observation that such an outlook is a reflection on poor theology. Specifically, I think that many protestants today treat good works as if they were sacraments. Instead of looking to our works for assurance we should look to Christ.