Some who claim Christ as Lord will do works out of fear of not being pleasing in the Lord’s eyes, others for the fear of the possible repercussions, either in this life or the next, if they do not. Both are a religious construct that do not portray who we are to be in Christ. We do what we do and deny those things that would dishonor Him for the sake of our love for Him, and for that reason only.
This is not the main tenant of most religious organizations, even many Evangelical churches will, either on purpose or inadvertently, make one to feel as if they are not fulfilling their obligations to the Lord if your church attendance is not regular enough, if you speak against the prescribed rules and regulations they have set in place, whether they be of a secular or spiritual nature. Of course, all religious organizations have prescribed works that must be adhered to or not only might one’s salvation be questioned, but the assurance of it may be brought into the same questioning. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matt. 22:37)
Love indeed is an action, but it is also a way of the heart, it not only acts, but reacts, and it never does so with any intention of gaining anything. “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1 Cor. 13:8) If love is returned, it is accepted in love, never questioning about the motives, if it is given, it seeks not its own, but only is given for the sake of love. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2)
No works that you attempt to do that does not in some way glorify God will be accepted by the Lord, for the motive then would not be for love, but for one of the two reasons that began this letter to you.
“We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) Think about that and place it beside “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44) If you can understand that God is Sovereign, that He subsists within and of Himself, that He does not need or ever has needed anything, then you have begun to understand the love that He has for us, for there has never been another reason to call us unto Himself. You are loved because God has chosen to love you. For His own pleasure we were created, (Rev. 4:11) and by His own design, for His own glory we are loved.
This love is then given freely to all who will accept it freely, any attempt to perform some duty, some work then is disgraceful to that offering, for love does not seek to be paid back, nor does it seek any reward beyond that love when it is offered. These truths are so far beyond our understanding that we cannot comprehend in fulness the love that not only is offered, but that we have the free will to offer in return. He did not tell us anywhere in the Scriptures that if we perform a particular deed that we would be loved more or less, we are in the beloved, (Romans 9:25) there is no place else to go once we are there, we cannot draw closer when we are already there.
Neither those who attempt works or those who fear not to do them understand the grace, the love, that is offered to them, and so for the wrong reasons they seek that which, in the case of the saved and lost, they already possess. Our human standards, the moral constructs of mankind, are what keep us from a clear understanding of this truth, if someone does something good, or beneficial to us, we in turn will repay that kindness by reciprocating the action of love, while those who may be cruel to us will at best receive a form of feigned love, one that is offered because we have been commanded to, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matt. 5:44) Not out of the true love that we have for them.
Jesus loved the men that spit on Him, He loved the man that held the hammer that drove the spikes through His hands. Think about that.