Walking worthy of God in good works is what God created us to do. “For we are his workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them” (Eph 2:10). Anything we do that is motivated by the love God pours into our hearts by His Spirit is a good work (Ro 5:1-5; Php 2:1-5; Tit 2:11-14).
Years ago, the church lady was one of the night show personalities. She poked good natured fun on some of the outlandish ideas Christians held, including good works. Her punch line was, “isn’t that special.”
In Ephesians 4 to 6, Paul puts good works into spiritual perspective and exhorts us to walk worthy of the calling to which we are called, then explains how we are to walk in good works through what God has done for us.
1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.4 There is one body and one Spirit, even as you also were called in one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one immersion,6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all, and in us all. 7 But to each one of us, the grace was given according to the measure of the gift of Messiah. 8 Therefore he says,
- “When he ascended on high,
- he led captivity captive,
- and gave gifts to people.”
9 Now this, “He ascended”, what is it but that he also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things. Eph 4:1-10
The work of serving
Christ, the Messiah is the head of His body, the church. The church is the community of the King—Christ Jesus. Christ builds His church (Mt 16:15-18). We build it up, edify one another, in love. He fits and knits us together as each one of us is working, walking worthy. Christ gives us leaders to equip us for the work of servicing to the building up/edifying of the body of Christ. Their work will not be completed until grow up in all ways into Christ and work the way God created us in Christ Jesus to work.
11 He gave some to be emissaries; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, shepherds and teachers; 12 for the perfecting of the holy ones, to the work of serving, to the building up of the body of Messiah, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Messiah, 14 that we may no longer be children, tossed back and forth and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; 15 but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him who is the head, Messiah,16 from whom all the body, being fitted and knit together through that which every joint supplies, according to the working in measure of each individual part, makes the body increase to the building up [oikodomēn-edifying]of itself in love. Eph 4:11-16
Walking worthy in relationships
In the remainder of Ephesians, Paul tells us how our working should be. He begins by contrasting how pagans walk with putting on the new man, “who in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.”
17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their hearts. 19 They, having become callous, gave themselves up to lust, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But you didn’t learn Messiah that way, 21 if indeed you heard him, and were taught in him, even as truth is in Yeshua:22 that you put away, as concerning your former way of life, the old man that grows corrupt after the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new man, who in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.
25 Therefore putting away falsehood, speak truth each one with his neighbor. For we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and don’t sin.” Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 and don’t give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, producing with his hands something that is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but only what is good for building others up as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outcry, and slander be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Messiah forgave you. Eph 4:17-32
Paul puts that in kingdom terms in Romans 14. “For the Kingdom of God does not consist of eating and drinking, but of right conduct, peace and joy, through the Holy Spirit; and whoever in this way devotedly serves Christ, God takes pleasure in him, and men highly commend him” ( Ro 14:17-18 WNT). Cf 2 Ti 2:22
Walk in love, walk as children of light, walk wise, watch carefully how you walk
1 Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 Walk in love, even as Messiah also loved us and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance.
3 But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes holy ones;4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not appropriate, but rather giving of thanks.
5 Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Messiah and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words. For because of these things, the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience. 7 Therefore don’t be partakers with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord. Walk as children of light, 9 for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth, 10 proving what is well pleasing to the Lord. 11 Have no fellowship with the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather even reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things, when they are reproved, are revealed by the light, for everything that reveals is light. 14 Therefore he says, “Awake, you who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Messiah will shine on you.”
15 Therefore watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.17 Therefore don’t be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 Don’t be drunken with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 giving thanks always concerning all things in the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, to God, even the Father;21 subjecting yourselves to one another in the fear of Messiah. Eph 5:1-21.
Walking worthy in family relationships
22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Messiah also is the head of the assembly, being himself the savior of the body. 24 But as the assembly is subject to Messiah, so let the wives also be to their own husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Messiah also loved the assembly, and gave himself up for it; 26 that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, 27 that he might present the assembly to himself gloriously, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without defect. 28 Even so husbands also ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord also does the assembly; 30 because we are members of his body, of his flesh and bones. 31 “For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will be joined to his wife. The two will become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is great, but I speak concerning Messiah and of the assembly.
33 Nevertheless each of you must also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with a promise: 3 “that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth.”
Walking worthy at work
5 Servants, be obedient to those who according to the flesh are your masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as to Messiah, 6 not in the way of service only when eyes are on you, as men pleasers, but as servants of Messiah, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with good will doing service as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good thing each one does, he will receive the same good again from the Lord, whether he is bound or free.
9 You masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with him.
Put on the whole armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.13 Therefore put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having the utility belt of truth buckled around your waist, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having fitted your feet with the preparation of the Good News of peace, 16 above all, taking up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the [rehma spoken] word of God; 18 with all prayer and requests, praying at all times in the Spirit, and being watchful to this end in all perseverance and requests for all the holy ones: 19 on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Good News, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. Eph 6:10-20
That is how walking worthy of God in relationships filled with good works builds up the body of Christ. If we would all do our best to walk in the manner Paul lays out, the church, the community of the King would be a living testimony to the grace of God. As Peter exhorts us.
Beloved, I beg you as foreigners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 having good behavior among the nations, so in that of which they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they see, glorify God in the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:11-12
All Scripture, unless otherwise noted, is quoted from World Messianic Bible WMB