What is the Place of Good Works?

I just finished writing a series of lessons from Proverbs that I will teach to our group at youth camp next week. Many of the proverbs were written by Solomon to his sons to encourage wise and upright living in the sight of God and others. Many commentators have acknowledged that the proverbs are a practical commentary-of-sorts on the Old Testament law.

The proverbs tell God-followers how to live—how to please Him in our everyday actions. Many proverbs compare and contrast the “righteous” and the “wicked.” In fact, the Hebrew words for righteous and wicked are used 66 and 78 times (respectively) in Proverbs. The righteous and the wicked are contrasted eleven times in chapter 10 alone. The point is that we should display righteous, God-fearing actions rather than wicked, sinful actions.

But this raises a theological question: Where does our righteousness come from? Does it come from our actions, our lifestyles, our good deeds? Or does it come from Jesus, our perfect and sinless Savior who shed His blood on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin and who rose victorious three days later?

The issue really boils down to this question: What is the place of good works in our salvation? There seem to be two options:

  1. we complete good works in order to be saved; or
  2. we complete good works because we are

To some, the Bible is confusing when it comes to this question. The great reformer Martin Luther wasn’t so sure that the book of James should be included in the New Testament canon because of what it said about works (James 2:14-26). Ephesians 2:8 says that we are saved by grace and through faith, and James 2:26 says that faith without works is dead. (Luther also saw a contradiction between James and his favorite passage, Romans 1:16-17.)

So is it faith alone? Is it works alone? Or is it faith + works? Following the fact that salvation is by grace through faith, Ephesians 2:9 clearly states that salvation does not come from works, so that we will have nothing to boast about. Salvation does not come from works. We could never do enough good things to earn our salvation. If we could and if we did, we would probably brag about it, which makes no sense. 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us that our righteousness comes only from Jesus, who died for our sins. This means that it does not come from any good work we may do.

“He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” -2 Corinthians 5:21

So why does the Bible also emphasize good works? Well, because they are important too. Continuing on in Ephesians 2, verse 10 says, “For we are His creation/workmanship—created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” Good works are important, but not in order to be saved. They are important after we are saved. We don’t do good deeds to get saved, we do good deeds because we are saved.

This is where the teaching of James comes into play. Faith without works is dead. If you say you have faith and you claim to be a Christian, but your life says otherwise, the proof is in the pudding. If you are a Spirit-filled and Spirit-led believer in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, good works will be a natural overflow.

And this teaching is not original to Paul or James; it goes back to Jesus. In the parable of the sower/seeds/soils (Luke 8:4-15), the seed that falls on the good soil is the one that survives and produces a crop (Luke 8:8). Jesus likens this to those who hear the gospel and cling to it and, as a result, “bear fruit” (Luke 8:15). If you are a Christian, you will bear fruit. You will do good works—not to be saved, but because you are saved.

In conclusion, we have to get things in the right order. Faith and works are both important, but faith must come first. Works do not produce faith; true faith produces works.

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16 Replies to “What is the Place of Good Works?”

  1. Can you have faith but no salvation? I find that faith/good work proponents are always so quick to jump on the fact that we could be up to our eye balls in good works but that could never be enough to ever gain our salvation, not without Christ. But they don’t continue down the line to reversal, if we acknowledge that we cannot have salvation through good works alone, can we not also conclude that it is possible to have faith and not be saved? What might that look like? Perhaps as a Christian who professes that Jesus Christ is their personal Lord and Saviour but in the practice of their every day life they do not live that faith, they have faith but their sinful life void of good works will ensure that they will most likely (because let’s be honest, we have no idea by what matrix God will truly judge us all on and we’ve been pretty much told not to worry about it) not gain salvation. So in that instance, good works does play a part or at least is capable of trumping faith because when Paul writes that faith alone will save us, I do not think he is not being exclusionary, he is saying that faith in Jesus and in accepting Him as Christ will always truly manifest itself so profoundly that the words of James in his letter appear to be true in action that is that faith without good works is pretty much useless– because you will not obtain salvation if you do not physically manifest faith in a life of good works. I guess where a lot of people see a contradiction between Paul and James in their letters, I actually see a big circle going round and round where faith is dependent on good works which is dependent on faith which is dependent of good works, etc. And in the end it is the salvation that Christ brings from outside this circle that shatters the cycle and elevates us toward salvation.

  2. “Faith and works are both important, but faith must come first. Works do not produce faith; true faith produces works.“

    Well stated….now you need to do a contrasting “thoughts/post/prepared lessons” from the book of Galatians. And you can really get people thinking about this whole “faith/works” issue. Haha

  3. This is a good and thoughtful treatment of an important and somewhat contentious topic. I agree with your reasoning. Reliance on our own good works, with the idea that somehow we need to save ourselves through them, is a recipe for failure and unnecessary guilt, because 1) we cannot save ourselves through works without faith, and 2) we are incapable by ourselves of living as perfectly as Christ did.

    The comment from E.J. James above also raises a good point about the circular nature of the argument. For the true believer, good works reinforce and strengthen faith. Failure to do good works will poison and weaken faith. This is a religious chicken and egg problem of sorts. But it is clear that faith is first, and that good works grow out of our faith.

  4. Ephesians 2: 10 from the KJV. Good works and obedience come from the Holy Spirit in the believer. We only take responsibility for our sin, not our good works or obedience. This is called Sanctification.

  5. The initiative for salvation belongs to God. For it is only by his sanctifying grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, we are justified. No one is justified unless they believe. Those who believe are considered righteous as “Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” (Rom 4:3). Righteousness comes from God and God alone.
    “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.” (2 Cor 5:17-18) As a new creation we merit God’s grace as we collaborate in the building of his kingdom according to his divine plan. Simply stated, our good works, accomplished with his grace, preserves our faith. As Luther’s least favorite Saint (St. James) states, “A person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” (Jam 4:24) St Augustine states, “Indeed we also work, but we are only collaborating with God who works, for his mercy has gone before us.”
    Your statement, “Good works are important, but not in order to be saved” is incorrect. Good works are necessary for our salvation as they merit the graces needed for eternal life.

  6. Great post. It did raise a couple questions in my mind–since we are saved through Jesus’s sacrifice, did anyone prior to His life and resurrection receive salvation? If so, was it based on the Law of Moses? Did King David receive salvation given that he wasn’t perfect? Would love to hear others’ thoughts on this.

    1. This may or may not help you on understanding this, but consider these scriptures:

      “Jesus Christ (Messiah Yeshua) is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 (ESV)

      “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:3 (ESV)

      “for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Hebrews 9:26 (ESV)

      “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you…” 1 Peter 1:20 (ESV)

      and lastly,

      “… Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 (ESV)

      God is outside of our concept of time. Yeshua’s (Jesus’) sacrifice goes in both direction in time, both backwards to creation and forwards. We live after his sacrifice so can point to it. Those before did not yet see what was coming. But that they also were save through belief, there are many examples in the “Old Testament.” Some real easy examples come to mind: Enoch and Elijah – both taken up to heaven. King David was called by God, ‘a man after my own heart.’

      The Law of God was never given for salvation. David is a perfect example of this being true. After David sinned with Bathsheba, there were no sacrifices that he could offer to “obtain” forgiveness. None at all. He had to repent and ask forgiveness, just as we do now.

      Read about the life of King David, and the Psalms he wrote, and pay attention to what he says about God, repentance, salvation, forgiveness, and even grace. Do read in a couple different translations of the Bible as you will find that some seem to try and hide words such as ‘salvation’ and ‘grace’ throughout the “Old Testament”, but they are they, through Yeshua (Jesus) though He was not yet known.

      Hope this is of some help,
      – Yosef

  7. Very true: good works do not save.

    The confusion between faith and good works stems from the Greek mindset we grow up in. The Hebrew mindset was (and is) different. In the Hebrew mindset, you did not hear or believe if you don’t do. The two, belief and doing, are intimately connected and can not be separated.

    So from a Hebrew perspective, there is no conundrum when one writer is talking about believe and be saved, and another writer emphasizes works. The two go hand in hand and both have to be there, or the person did not ‘hear’ what God said in the first place.

    – Yosef

  8. I volunteer working with homeless people not because I’m seeking a reward but to give back for the good things in my life.

  9. Exactly my feeling! I don’t believe the two- faith & works/ are mutually exclusive of one another. Your ability to break it down in a way that makes most sense is much appreciated. Thank you!

  10. A very thoughtful post and also one that illustrates lots of overlap and yet still some differences between Catholic Christian and non-Catholic Christian beliefs. Catholic teachings would agree with many points that you make: salvation and righteousness come from Jesus Christ. Faith and works are important together. Because we are Christian we ought to show that through our works.

    Catholic teachings then go further beyond this. However, not only do we do good works because of our faith, through the faith in which we received sanctifying grace, we are enabled to do good works and rise to levels of supernatural virtue. (Example: the natural virtue of prudence may be elevated to the supernatural level as a Christian gives up all that he has to follow an entirely new vocation path in serving the Lord… it makes no sense on a natural level and to the rest of the world, but to the Christian who sees beyond this life, it is an act of prudence as well as other virtues.)

    Additionally, the good works that we do are meritorious. Not by themselves and by our own doing. Only through uniting these good works with Christ and His work that merited grace for all of us. Here’s how:

    *By the grace of Baptism we are incorporated into Christ’s mystical spiritual body, the Church. We are united with Christ and one another through this sacrament.
    *Christ continues His work on earth through us and the good works that we do because we are members of His body. It is no longer I but Christ who lives in me.
    *Through these good works we merit grace because we are united with Christ and Christ works through us and Christ is the only one who can truly merit grace. Yet, this is a collaboration in the building of His kingdom and according to His divine plan, as Deacon Jason commented earlier.
    *The graces received then benefit us for our sanctification and growth in holiness enabling us to grow deeper in love with the Lord so that we would be more faithful, more capable of virtue, that we would love others and do greater good for God and neighbor. These graces may also benefit others, too, just as intercessory prayer would benefit them.

    (Sidenote: this same concept also applies to uniting one’s sufferings with Christ’s in Catholic beliefs. See Col. 1:24. Thus for a Christian, suffering is not meaningless but can be a source of grace.)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  11. The Nature of Good Works.
    John 14:10 “10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? What I say to you I do not speak of my own accord: it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his works.
    Acts 26:20 “20 On the contrary I started preaching, first to the people of Damascus, then to those of Jerusalem and all Judaean territory, and also to the gentiles, urging them to repent and turn to God, proving their change of heart by their deeds.”
    1 John 2:3-4 “3 In this way we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.
    4 Whoever says, ‘I know him’ without keeping his commandments, is a liar, and truth has no place in him.’”
    Jesus says in Matt 7:22 “22 When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?
    23 Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, all evil doers!”
    The point Jesus is making here is that someone who is cut off from Him by doing evil is not going to be helped if they “prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?” Someone who is cut off from God by the evil he does is incapable of doing something truly good and pleasing to God, because his heart has turned away from God. Therefore “driving out demons”, “prophesying”, “working miracles” are not good deeds for him in the first place, because he is an unrepentant sinner.
    That tells us a few things. Those who prophecy in Jesus’ name do not necessarily go to heaven. Those who drive out demons in Jesus’ name do not necessarily go to heaven, those who work out miracles in Jesus’ name do not necessarily go to heaven. That is if they do evil. Paul lists a few of these evils, adultery, slander, sodomy, etc, those who practice these things Paul tells us, will not enter the kingdom of heaven. (1 Cor 6:9-10 “9* Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, * 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.” Some Christians do evil deeds, or fail to do good deeds, which is also evil. Matt 25:41-43, 46 “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.42 For I was hungry and you never gave me food, I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink,
    43 I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, lacking clothes and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.”
    “46* And they will go away into eternal punishment,”
    Paul tells us that we are saved by faith working through love. Gal 5:6 “6* For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.” Good works are prompted by love. They are not things that we do in our own strength, but God works through us to enable us to do the good works. We are his “co-workers” (1 Cor 3:9 “ 9* For we are God’s co-workers; * you are God’s field, God’s building.”
    He has prepared good works for us if we co-operate with His grace. It is impossible for anyone to do a good work pleasing to God if God is not working through that person, otherwise it is done out of duty or philanthropy, but not out of love.
    Paul tells us that we can have faith even to move mountains, but that if we have no love, we have nothing. Love is the engine of good works, without love they are empty dead shells. God’s grace, which you respond to, gives you your faith. God’s grace, which you respond to, produces good works. In neither case are you doing something in your own strength.
    Phil 2:13 “13 It is God who, for his own generous purpose, puts into you both the will and the action.”
    That is what is meant by good works, doing the works that God has prepared for you, through His grace, not in your own strength.
    Luke 11:41 “41 Instead, give alms from what you have and, look, everything will be clean for you.”
    2 Peter 1:4-7 “4 Through these, the greatest and priceless promises have been lavished on us, that through them you should share the divine nature and escape the corruption rife in the world through disordered passion. 5 With this in view, do your utmost to support your faith with goodness, goodness with understanding, 6 understanding with self-control, self-control with perseverance, perseverance with devotion, 7 devotion with kindness to the brothers, and kindness to the brothers with love.”
    Eph 2:10 “10 We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus for the good works which God has already designated to make up our way of life.”
    Rev 19:8 “8 His bride (the church) is ready, and she has been able to dress herself in dazzling white linen, because her linen is made of the good deeds of the saints.’”
    John 14:11 “11 You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe it on the evidence of these works.”
    Col 1:24 “24 It makes me happy to be suffering for you now, and in my own body to make up all the hardships that still have to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church,”
    Col 1:29 “29 And it is for this reason that I labour, striving with his energy which works in me mightily.”
    John 3:1-2 “ … Nicodemus … said ‘Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher; for no one could perform the signs that you do unless God were with him.’”
    John 5:19 “Jesus replied: In all truth I tell you, by himself the Son can do nothing; he can do only what he sees the Father doing: and whatever the Father does the Son does too.”
    John 5:30 “30 By myself I can do nothing;”
    John 14:12 “12 In all truth I tell you, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself,”
    John 14:14 “14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
    John 15:5 “5 I am the vine, you are the branches.
    John 15:16 “16 You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name.”
    John 15:2, 6 “2Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away…. 6These branches are collected and thrown on the fire and are burnt.”
    John 15:6 “17 My command to you is to love one another.”
    Prayer is a good work.
    “Prayer (Gk. euchesthai, Lat. precari, Fr. prier, to plead, to beg, to ask earnestly), an act of the virtue of religion which consists in asking proper gifts or graces from God. In a more general sense it is the application of the mind to Divine things, not merely to acquire a knowledge of them but to make use of such knowledge as a means of union with God. This may be done by acts of praise and thanksgiving, but petition is the principal act of prayer. The words used to express it in Scripture are: to call upon (Gen.4:26); to intercede (Job. 22:10); to meditate (Is. 53:10); to consult (1 Kings. 28:6); to beseech (Ex.32:11); and, very commonly, to cry out to. The Fathers speak of it as the elevation of the mind to God with a view to asking proper things from Him (St. John Damascene, “De fide”, III, xxiv, in P.G., XCIV, 1090); communing and conversing with God (St. Gregory of Nyssa, “De oratione dom.”, in P.G., XLIV, 1125); talking with God (St. John Chrysostorn, “Horn. xxx in Gen.”, n. 5, in P.G., LIII, 280). It is therefore the expression of our desires to God whether for ourselves or others. This expression is not intended to instruct or direct God what to do, but to appeal to His goodness for the things we need; and the appeal is necessary, not because He is ignorant of our needs or sentiments, but to give definite form to our desires, to concentrate our whole attention on what we have to recommend to Him, to help us appreciate our close personal relation with Him. The expression need not be external or vocal; internal or mental is sufficient.
    By prayer we acknowledge God’s power and goodness, our own neediness and dependence. It is therefore an act of the virtue of religion implying the deepest reverence for God and habituating us to look to Him for everything, not merely because the thing asked be good in itself, or advantageous to us, but chiefly because we wish it as a gift of God, and not otherwise, no matter how good or desirable it may seem to us. Prayer presupposes faith in God and hope in His goodness. By both, God, to whom we pray, moves us to prayer.” (Para. On prayer: Catholic Answers).
    Repentance is a good work
    Repentance is a good work. Good works are necessary for salvation. Salvation is not possible without repentance.
    Acts 2:38 “38 And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
    1 John1:8 “8 If we say, ‘We have no sin,’ we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth has no place in us;”
    Forgiveness is a good work
    Matt 6:15 “15 but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”. Salvation is not possible if we are unforgiving.
    Because David is forgiving and forgives Saul, God forgives David. If God had not forgiven David, Heaven would have been closed to him.

    Council of Trent; Decree Concerning Justification.
    CHAPTER VIII
    HOW THE GRATUITOUS JUSTIFICATION OF THE SINNER BY FAITH IS TO BE UNDERSTOOD
    But when the Apostle says that man is justified by faith and freely, (Rom 3:24 “24* they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus,” ; Romans 5:1 “1* Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we * have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”) these words are to be understood in that sense in which the uninterrupted unanimity of the Catholic Church has held and expressed them, namely, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6 “6 And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”) and to come to the fellowship of His sons; and we are therefore said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things that precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification.” For, if by grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the Apostle says, grace is no more grace. (Rom 11:6 “6* But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.).”
    Matt 28:19-20 “19* Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20* teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
    Which commandments? These are summed up in Matt 22: “37* And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39* And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”
    How do we love our neighbour? By good deeds.
    1 John 4:20 “19* We love, because he first loved us. 20* If any one says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot * love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also.”
    James 2 on Faith and Good Deeds.
    14 How does it help, my brothers, when someone who has never done a single good act claims to have faith? Will that faith bring salvation?
    15 If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on,
    16 and one of you says to them, ‘I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty,’ without giving them these bare necessities of life, then what good is that?
    17 In the same way faith, if good deeds do not go with it, is quite dead.
    Once.
    18 But someone may say: So you have faith and I have good deeds? Show me this faith of yours without deeds, then! It is by my deeds that I will show you my faith.
    Twice.
    19 You believe in the one God — that is creditable enough, but even the demons have the same belief, and they tremble with fear.
    20 Fool! Would you not like to know that faith without deeds is useless?
    Three times.
    21 Was not Abraham our father justified by his deed, because he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
    22 So you can see that his faith was working together with his deeds; his faith became perfect by what he did.
    23 In this way the scripture was fulfilled: Abraham put his faith in God, and this was considered as making him upright; and he received the name ‘friend of God’.
    Four times.
    24 You see now that it is by deeds, and not only by faith alone, that someone is justified.
    Five times.
    25 There is another example of the same kind: Rahab the prostitute, was she not justified by her deeds because she welcomed the messengers and showed them a different way to leave?
    Six times.
    26 As a body without a spirit is dead, so is faith without deeds.
    Seven times.
    James repeats his teaching on Faith and Good deeds seven times in 13 verses.
    Romans 2:6-7 “For God will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well doing (good works) seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life” – note “by patience in well doing….. he will give eternal life.” Eternal life.
    1 Cor 13:13 “13 As it is, these remain: faith, hope and love, the three of them; and the greatest of these is love.”
    Rev 3:15 “15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.”
    Rev 20:12 “the dead were judged from what was written in the books, as their deeds deserved.”

    Things that build up the Body of Christ.
    Worshipping and praising God.
    Prayer of praise, thanksgiving and petition.
    Reading and meditation on the Word of God.
    Proclaiming the Gospel.
    Repentance.
    Teaching the Word of God.
    Love of neighbor.
    Forgiving our neighbor.
    Feeding the hungry.
    Clothing the poor.
    Visiting the sick and those in prison.
    Reading and meditation on the lives of the saints.

    …….

    All of these are Good Works. The first effect of a good work is to increase the faith and charity of the one who practices it, as it flows from God’s grace. This in itself builds up the Body of Christ, as the good of one member of the Body of Christ results in the good of the whole Body of Christ, just as the hurt felt by one member of the Body of Christ results in the hurt of the whole Body of Christ.
    1 Cor 12:12-27
    “12 For as with the human body which is a unity although it has many parts — all the parts of the body, though many, still making up one single body — so it is with Christ.
    13 We were baptised into one body in a single Spirit, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as free men, and we were all given the same Spirit to drink.
    14 And indeed the body consists not of one member but of many.
    15 If the foot were to say, ‘I am not a hand and so I do not belong to the body,’ it does not belong to the body any the less for that.
    16 Or if the ear were to say, ‘I am not an eye, and so I do not belong to the body,’ that would not stop its belonging to the body.
    17 If the whole body were just an eye, how would there be any hearing? If the whole body were hearing, how would there be any smelling?
    18 As it is, God has put all the separate parts into the body as he chose.
    19 If they were all the same part, how could it be a body?
    20 As it is, the parts are many but the body is one.
    21 The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ and nor can the head say to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’
    22 What is more, it is precisely the parts of the body that seem to be the weakest which are the indispensable ones.
    23 It is the parts of the body which we consider least dignified that we surround with the greatest dignity; and our less presentable parts are given greater presentability
    24 which our presentable parts do not need. God has composed the body so that greater dignity is given to the parts which were without it,
    25 and so that there may not be disagreements inside the body but each part may be equally concerned for all the others.
    26 If one part is hurt, all the parts share its pain. And if one part is honoured, all the parts share its joy.
    27 Now Christ’s body is yourselves, each of you with a part to play in the whole.”

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