Giving to the Poor, and the Necessity of Good Works and Bearing Good Fruit

This study is available in Spanish here.

To view a list of all studies in this blog, click here.

Recommended before reading this study,

Predestination, All Things are Determined by God, Even the Outcome of a Roll of a Dice

Repentance and Sin No More, Perfection and Born of the Spirit

Humility and Sell All Your Possessions and Properties

Man is not delivered by works,

not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:9 [NIV])

Not because works are not necessary,

So also the belief, if it should not have works it is dead by itself. (James 2:17 [ABP])

But instead because deliverance comes by favor of God, also called “grace”,

For by favor you are being preserved through the belief; and this gift of God is not of you; (Ephesians 2:8 [ABP])

Which is a choice of God to bestow mercy,

For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” (Romans 9:15 [NIV])

On some, whoever he wants,

So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. (Romans 9:18 [ESV])

For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14 [ESV])

Whose choice came before the foundation of the world,

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love (Ephesians 1:4 [ESV])
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:30 [NIV])
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:29 [NIV])

And this is why it is not of works that anyone is delivered, because before any works are performed, God has already chosen who he will bestow mercy and favor to,

So then it is not of the one wanting, nor of the one running, but of the showing mercy of God. (Romans 9:16 [ABP])

though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (Romans 9:11-13 [ESV])

And it is then after a person has begun to believe, after having been called by hearing the word of God, which came as a result of what God predestined to happen, that a person must then humble himself,

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:10 [ESV])

Which is a humility that involves selling possessions and reducing himself to little,

So therefore every one of you who does not give up all that he himself possesses, is not able to be My disciple. (Luke 14:33 [BLB])

Then repent, which means to stop sinning,

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 [ESV])

And she said, No one, O Lord. And Jesus said to her, Nor I condemn you; go and from now sin no more! (John 8:11 [ABP])

Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” (John 5:14 [NIV])

and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 3:2 [NIV])

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, (Hebrews 6:1 [ESV])

And then begin to perform good works,

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10 [NIV])

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? (James 2:14-16 [ESV])

Which are the instructions Jesus Christ gave, humility by selling possessions, and good works by giving to the poor,

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21 [NIV])

When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22 [NLT])

Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21 [NLT])

Which is precisely what the assemblies of the apostles did, they humbled themselves by selling their possessions, and then gave to the poor,

They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. (Acts 2:45 [NLT])

that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. (Acts 4:34-35 [NIV])

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. (Ephesians 4:28 [ESV])

And these are the works worthy of repentance that a person must start doing,

Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. (Matthew 3:8 [ESV])

Instead, I preached to those in Damascus first, and to those in Jerusalem and in all the region of Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance. (Acts 26:20 [HCSB])

That are necessary for anyone who is chosen and has repented and to perform,

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15:16 [ESV])

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8 [ESV])

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:21 [ESV])

that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:17 [ESV])

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, (Titus 3:1 [ESV])

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 2:12 [NHEB])

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 [ESV])

And continue to do until the appointed time, at the coming of Jesus Christ,

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9 [ESV])

Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. (Revelation 2:5 [ESV])

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. (Psalm 126:5 [NIV])

A wicked person earns deceptive wages, but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward. (Proverbs 11:18 [NIV])

He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures always*; his horn is exalted in honor. (Psalm 112:9 [MODIFIED-ESV])*

Interlinear Links: *lā·‘aḏ (always), Psalm 112:9

Which is the time he will then reward those who continued steadfast in humility, obedience, and doing good works,

Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. (Revelation 22:12 [NIV])

Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.” (Isaiah 62:11 [ESV])

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” (Revelation 14:13 [ESV])

Yet anyone who does not do good works, which is what God wills, will be cut off,

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 7:19 [ESV])

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21 [ESV])

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the aeonial* fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to aeonial* punishment, but the righteous to aeonial* life.” (Matthew 25:41-46 [MODIFIED-NIV])*

Interlinear Links: *αἰώνιον (aeonial), Matthew 25:41Matthew 25:46

“‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. (Ezekiel 16:49-50 [NIV])

For giving to the poor even preceded the first coming of Jesus Christ, as commands of righteousness that were given in the Law of Moses,

If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. (Leviticus 25:35 [ESV])

If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the LORD against you, and you be guilty of sin. (Deuteronomy 15:7-9 [ESV])

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:18 [ESV])

Which are the weightier matters of the Law that the Pharisees and Levites neglected,

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:30-37 [NIV])

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye pay tithes of mint and anise and cummin, and ye have left aside the weightier matters of the law, judgment and mercy and faith: these ye ought to have done and not have left those aside. (Matthew 23:23 [DBT])

And this was why Cornelius, who was a Gentile, received the holy spirit to the amazement of all,

While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” (Acts 10:44-47 [ESV])

Because his obedience and humility was accompanied by good works,

and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your gifts to the poor have been remembered before God. (Acts 10:31 [BSB])

Which correlates with what Isaiah said, for after a person finally comes into humility, obedience, and good works, God will then hear from heaven,

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, (Isaiah 58:6-9 [ESV])

“Wash yourselves, and make yourselves clean; remove your evil behavior from my presence; stop practicing what is evil. Learn to practice what is good; seek justice, alleviate oppression, defend orphans in court, and plead the widow’s case. “Please come, and let’s reason together,” implores the LORD. “Even though your sins are like scarlet, they’ll be white like snow. Though they’re like crimson, they’ll become like wool. (Isaiah 1:16-18 [ISV])

But the prayer of anyone who refuses to do good works will be ignored,

Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered. (Proverbs 21:13 [ESV])

And will be accounted as sin against him,

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. (James 4:17 [NIV])

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”– when you already have it with you. (Proverbs 3:27-28 [NIV])

And in relation to good works is also what is meant with being a “servant”, for a servant lives for the service of others,

Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, (Matthew 20:26 [NIV])

The greatest among you will be your servant. (Matthew 23:11 [NIV])

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35 [NIV])

In which case, good works are not only limited to giving money to the poor, but also helping widows, helping orphans,

Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27 [BSB])

Visiting those in prison, looking after the sick, clothing those who are naked, giving water to the thirsty, giving food to the hungry,

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:34-40 [ESV])

does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment… walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord GOD.
 (Ezekiel 18:7-9 [ESV])

Housing foreigners,

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. (Hebrews 13:2-3 [ESV])

And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” (Genesis 18:1-5 [ESV])

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. (Genesis 19:1-3 [ESV])

Performing works of the power of the holy spirit to heal those that are sick,

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. (Acts 3:6-8 [NIV])

Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.
 (Mark 3:4-5 [NIV])

And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
(Mark 16:17-18 [NIV])

Or any type of help to someone who is afflicted or has a need. And some will do more good works than others, since all will bear different measures of good fruit,

Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matthew 13:8 [ESV])

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (2 Corinthians 9:6 [ESV])