(Red-letter portions of the New Testament)

Matthew 6:1, "be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven."

Politicians and convicts are notorious for "getting religion" to impress voters or the parole board. If we are not careful, Jesus says we can fall into the same trap. God wants us to go to church, give to charity, and even perform random acts of kindness, but not to receive the approval of others, ourselves, or even God. Jesus wants us to do these things from the heart. A saint is never consciously a saint.

Church folks and non-church folks can get the idea that being religious or doing good will not only gain the approval of men, but will cause God to approve of them. But those things are not the cause of God's approval, they are the result. We do these things because we have God's approval, not to gain it.

We gain God's approval by trusting in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Trusting in Jesus is gained through a personal relationship with Him.

By grace we are saved, through faith (a trusting relationship with Jesus) and this is not our own doing, it is the gift of God. It's not because of good deeds, otherwise men could approve themselves before God. The man who is approved is not the one who approves himself, or is approved by men, but the one God approves.

God approves of those who have a personal, trusting relationship with His Son, Jesus, not those who try to impress God, self and other people with good deeds. Get to know Jesus. Then, let the good deeds roll.

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