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This question is a little ambiguous about what type of success is meant: financial, spiritual, career? Is it referring to some idea that our good works cause God to bless us more? Biblical doctrines are often presented in dynamic tension, which is why we have to really study the Bible. We are saved by our faith in Jesus (faith is not considered a "work") BUT if we truly love Christ our lives will reveal this through our obedience to Him. As protestants, most of us believe that "good works" do nothing in and of themselves to bring about our salvation/righteousness/justification. If we allow our doctrines to get out of balance, we'll either stray toward salvation-by-works OR toward presumption and a sinful lifestyle. But, back to your question: In one sense, we might say that a person who does good works is USUALLY more successful in one way or another than one who does not. The Bible is very clear that a wise lifestyle USUALLY leads to a better life. We see these teachings in the wisdom book of Proverbs. A person who's a good worker, who avoids addictions, who's willing to learn, who avoids crime, who is kind to others, and who stays faithful in marriage GENERALLY has a better life than one who does the opposite. These truisms apply no matter if a person has a saving relationship with Jesus or not; some complete atheists are extremely successful in business, have good family-life, even have peaceful consciences, etc. The link between wise living and a better lifestyle might be considered similar to God's common grace; there are certain life-rules that, if obeyed, usually lead to more possessions, sufficient food, peace with neighbors, etc. On the other hand, not even the best among us is guaranteed anything- not even life itself. Jesus, the sinless God-Man himself, lived a simple lifestyle and ended up with a shattered reputation, dying in in a humiliating way on a Roman cross (humiliating in the eyes of the World.) When we read the stories of early Christians and even the great Christians of recent centuries we often see that sometimes God allows the most perplexing and even horrific tragedies, poverty, illness, and accidents to come into his children's lives. I think of people like Corrie Ten Boom, and Horatio Spafford (who wrote "It is Well with My Soul" after his daughters drowned in a maritime accident.) The belief that somehow a devout life = health, wealth, and prosperity is not based either in New Testament teaching nor in the actual experience of God's saints. Rather, early Christians drew strength from Christ's sufferings and thanked God they were considered worthy to suffer as He had. I realize that some people like to take the Old Testament obedience-blessing and disobedience-curses God promised to the Nation of Israel and the Jews and apply them to all modern people. I personally don't believe this either theologically or practically. There are too many people in Hollywood and even in politics who are immoral and godless to the core (many openly affirm it) and yet seem to be financially and socially blessed FAR more than many devout Christians. We see the same lament even in the Psalms, and of course the question of the righteous suffering is the core of the Book of Job. So, will good works lead to success? Yes and no and maybe. One thing is for sure, however. We are clearly told that the Christian who faithfully obeys the Lord WILL be rewarded in Heaven, if not here on Earth.
What says the scripture about good works? Mt 5:16 so let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and may glorify your Father who is in the heavens. Our good works are the result of our being in Christ loving our neighbor as ourselves as his creed give us to do. (Mk:12:29-31) Joh 10:32 Jesus answered them, ‘Many good works did I shew you from my Father; because of which work of them do ye stone me?’ Notice Jesus says his good works come through him from his Father, and ours come through us as we are united with Jesus. Ac 9:36 And in Joppa there was a certain female disciple, by name Tabitha, (which interpreted, is called Dorcas,) this woman was full of good works and kind acts that she was doing; What a great example of a converted believer in the lord Jesus showing forth love to her neighbors. May we do likewise! Ro 13:3 For those ruling are not a terror to the good works, but to the evil; and dost thou wish not to be afraid of the authority? That which is good be doing, and thou shalt have praise from it, If we do good works toward others those who are in authority have nothing to fear from us or we from them. Eph 2:10 for of Him we are workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God did before prepare, that in them we may walk. Indeed, as new creations in the lord Jesus God's anointed one we are enabled to do good works empowered by the spirit of Jesus in us. 1Ti 2:10 but — which becometh women professing godly piety — through good works. The character of a believing woman is shown by her good works toward others, which indeed is true beauty. 1Ti 5:10 in good works being testified to: if she brought up children, if she entertained strangers, if saints’ feet she washed, if those in tribulation she relieved, if every good work she followed after; These are the good works that should follow our steps along the narrow path that leads to life in the coming new age. 1Ti 6:18 to do good, to be rich in good works, to be ready to impart, willing to communicate, Again, an example of loving our neighbor as ourselves! Tit 2:7 concerning all things thyself showing a pattern of good works; in the teaching uncorruptedness, gravity, incorruptibility, This advice given by Paul to Titus as a way a minister of the lord Jesus should act applies to all those who are in the lord Jesus. Tit 2:14 who did give himself for us, that he might ransom us from all lawlessness, and might purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works; We need to ask ourselves: are we zealous to do good works? Tit 3:8 Stedfast is the word; and concerning these things I counsel thee to affirm fully, that they may be thoughtful, to be leading in good works — who have believed God; these are the good and profitable things to men, Tit 3:14 and let them learn — ours also — to be leading in good works to the necessary uses, that they may not be unfruitful. By doing good works we will not be seen as unfruitful before the One with whom we have to do, our God and our Father! Heb 10:24 and may we consider one another to provoke to love and to good works, We should do all we can to help each other to love others and do good works for them. 1Pe 2:12 having your behaviour among the nations right, that in that which they speak against you as evil-doers, of the good works having beheld, they may glorify God in a day of inspection. This advice of Peter is excellent, for he says our good works glorify our God and provide a witness and example to those who do not yet believe in the lord Jesus. In all of these examples of good works there is no mention of good works leading to success, unless success can be defined as doing what we have been created to do in Christ Jesus. These words of Jesus say it all: Luke 17:10 So likewise ye, when you shall have done all those things which are commanded you - good works, say, we are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
Our good deeds or works are a grateful response to what God has done. They are not a prerequisite to earning His grace. Good works come from truly believing with all your heart that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior and that He is the only way to Gog the Father and Eternal Life. Salvation is Jesus plus nothing. There is nothing we can do in or good works to merit getting us to Heaven. When you truly believe what I stated above, you will change and have an active faith, one producing good works because you love Jesus. Even the devil and demons believe in God and they shudder. They do not do good works, their faith is not active. If you really want to learn about faith and deeds, read the Book of James. It's not that long. It will also teach you about trials and tribulations.
It all depends what you call "good" and what you count as "success." I see success as doing my best to help others. Others see success as being recognized for what they do. Success is a personal judgment, not for others to make.
In my opinion good work that brings heavenly reward and earthly success comes from genuinely saved and converted heart to the Lord. Faith that pleases God comes out of him. Any good work he does is to express love to his Maker. Every good work,therefore, in the Lord brings two successes : heavenly and earthly. Ps 73 says the successes of ungodly without Christ is earthly, temporal, and will soon be forgotten. 1 Corinthians15:58 says, therefore,my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, un moveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
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