Judged for what we have done

Grace v WorksThe good news of heaven declares that everything comes to us as a free gift from our heavenly Father. But the bad news of earth says you better work baby, because there’s no such thing as a free lunch!

Your choice is grace or works. Either the favor of God is given or earned, but it can’t be both.

The gospel that Jesus revealed and Paul preached proclaims it’s grace from start to finish. How then are we to explain these verses which suggest you must work to be blessed?

 Jesus  Paul
Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. John (5:28-29) God will repay each person according to what they have done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. (Rom 2:6-8)


If these were the only verses in the Bible you could build a whole religion on the importance of doing good or being blessed through good works, and many have. Such a message appeals to our sense of right and wrong but it’s a cursed message that promotes self-trust and self-righteousness.

Let’s start with the words of Jesus who said “those who have done good will rise to live.” That’s very clear. There’s no ambiguity. If you “done good” you will live, but what does it mean to do good? Jesus tells us a few verses earlier:

I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24)

Doing good, as Jesus defines it, is hearing and believing Jesus. Nothing more, nothing less.

“That can’t be it. It’s too simple. There must be some work that God requires from me.”

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29)

Want to impress God? Then be impressed with Jesus. Want to do something good with your life? Then drop your cheap sacrifice and marvel at his infinitely sublime one.

Being persuaded that Jesus is who he says he is, and living from that persuasion, is the most productive thing you can do with your life. The seed of God’s word is fruitful. It will grow and bear a harvest all by itself. But we can certainly hinder that process through doubt and unbelief. Trying to make things happen is one of the most destructive things you can do. So don’t do it. Labor to enter his rest and stay there.

I am absolutely convinced that the most creative and fruitful people in this world are those who have seen Jesus, who have been undone by his love, and who are resting in their Father’s unconditional approval. If this is you, then you will shine like the stars (Php 2:15).


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33 Comments on Judged for what we have done

  1. BAM!!!

  2. It is so freeing to realize that Jesus has made me acceptable in the beloved. There is nothing I need to do or can do to merit His blessings. They are all mine because of the finished work. Thank you for explaining and expressing what Jesus did for us and what we have, if we will receive it!!

  3. And that is the Good News!
    Thanks Paul!

  4. keep up the good work Paul

  5. I enjoy your posts. I read them thoroughly after receiving them and appreciate your wording and thought you give your articles. They have taught me more about the grace message I embraced several years back. The questions you ask and then use scripture to define, help ground others deep and wide in the love of the Father who provided this grave through His Son. Before I was a IBYC/Gothard principles follower. Grace is amazing and helps you see Jesus more clearly! What you share is definitive since you have entered the fray and responded with wisdom and the Word of God. Just want to say THANKS!

  6. A lot of times, the most simple things are the most profound. That’s why logical people doubt and say “that’s not all to it, we have to do something…it can’t be that simple” . But it really is that simple, either we work (self-effort) and God rests or we rest (believe&receive) in Him and He works.

  7. teenal chacko // September 24, 2015 at 4:33 am // Reply

    great message

  8. Oh! the sweetest of music to my ears! I will never, ever tire of hearing this great good news: “Doing good is hearing and believing Jesus. Nothing more, nothing less”. GLORY!
    Thank you Paul for sounding such beautiful, clear notes.

  9. Because we live in a works-based world we need to hear this message of grace daily. It’s so easy for our natural mind to get back into doing, earning, and striving without even realizing this. Thank you for reminding us, Paul.

  10. This is really Good News! Thank you

  11. Devine Atonement or human achievement. I know which one I choose☝

  12. “The seed of God’s word is fruitful. It will grow and bear a harvest all by itself.”

    Amen, hermano! I honed in on this in particular and the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance this really awesome picture from prayer a week or so ago I want to share with you.

    I was praying in the spirit and all of a sudden I saw Jesus in the garden of my heart. We were in this beautiful orchard and he was picking beautiful fruit off a tree, filling up this big basket. It was one of those baskets that is deep and has a wide lip and He was singing a song. Just seeing Him plucking this fruit off a tree in the garden of MY heart looking so peaceful and singing so joyfully…I just started laughing.

    Then He turned towards me, walking to me with that huge basket of beautiful fruit and His eyes were looking right into me–peaceful and loving and twinkling with joy.

    I was filled with such thanks and joy, and I wept.

    Thank you for believing Jesus, hermano, and for sharing with us the encouragement of our Abba Father!

  13. Paul Ellis –
    I just have to tell you that this post was literally an answer to my prayer yesterday morning. I was reading the book of John, after reading Ephesians earlier in the month. And I literally could not understand what the Bible was trying to tell me. I cried out to God – and asked Him – help me understand this… because I am scared that maybe I do not really Love you because I don’t think I have kept all of your commandments (thinking of all of the ‘law stuff’)… anyway… I got ready for work and on the train, I saw that in my email box that there was a new post from Paul Ellis and it was THIS! Explaining this. I burst into tears on the train. I am sure I looked crazy. I wished right there that Jesus was sitting by me so that I could hug him! Thank-you for following the Holy Spirit and posting this information for people like me who are trying in earnest to renew their minds and rest in the strength of Lord. Lots of big Jesus Love to you and your family and all believers everywhere. – KP

  14. Hi Paul, I must confess I am a waiter of your messages here in Ghana. After reading them, I share them via watsapp to groups and my contacts. And OMG you cant imagine how your messages are refreshing and liberating to people. Nobody goes like “who?” when you mention Paul Ellis here. You are not only blessing America but you are blessing us too in Africa. And Thank you for that.

  15. I love this site, am encouraged and learn so much here…from Mr Ellis and everyone else who posts as well. Grace and Peace to all!

  16. justice senyo kota // September 26, 2015 at 11:10 am // Reply

    Thank you for this post. I will be grateful if you write on Matthew 25:31-46. If the believer in this picture considering the fact that we are not going to be judged. Moreover, will this take place after the rapture?

    • *Righteousness is a gift. (Rom 5:17)
      *There is no judgement IN Christ (Rom 8:1)
      (Rom 5:9), (Rom 8:33-34).

      We are given right standing with God based solely on the foundation of the finished work of Jesus Christ. (Eph 2:8-9)

      Matt 25:31-46
      The righteous sheep are are the ones who are saved, they are unaware of there works. Our foundation is Jesus. The goats boast of there works just like Matt 7:21-23. They also question Gods statement about them (v.44).

      We know when the Lord says something it is Spirit and Truth, he is not a man that he should lie (Num 23:19). Yet the goats call him a liar basically “When did we not minister to you?”, ummm he said you didn’t, so you didn’t lol. Rather than getting saved by grace they boasted in there works. They decided that there foundation would be themselves.

      John 6:28-29 (NLT)
      28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s WORKS, too. What should we do?”
      29 Jesus told them, “This is the only WORK God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

      • Kevin scholes // October 2, 2015 at 7:29 pm //

        But the faith went in hand with works you fed me you clothed me you visited me etc

  17. Brian Midmore // September 27, 2015 at 7:43 pm // Reply

    God does give eternal life to those who patiently do good (Rom2.7) and these are they whose heart has been circumcised by the Spirit. Jews on the inside. Believers in Jesus. Those who are baptised into the Messiah. Paul is not saying ‘God gives eternal life to those who do good so you better get your finger out’. He is saying ‘God gives eternal life to those who do good and these people are they who believe in Jesus not those who have the Law’. Jews inwardly not outwardly v 29.

  18. Didn’t Jesus say my yoke is “easy” and my burden is “light” ?

    Light and easy is the way of God, heavy and difficult is the way of religion.

  19. “Difficult way”

    I’m not sure what you mean by the difficult way ?

    Life is hard for everyone at times on planet earth whether you’re a believer or not. if you mean difficult in terms of persecution or being at “odds” with the world then I see your point.

    My life used to be more “difficult” when I was overly concerned that everyone around me was either an unbeliever or if they were a believer, they believed differently than I did. Since then I have learned to relax and not let what other people think or believe affect me. I get along much better with people because of this.


    • Brian Midmore // October 2, 2015 at 9:12 pm // Reply

      I was referring Matthew 7.14. So its not my idea. Its a difficult way because the world is going in the opposite direction. It is always hard to serve the living God when all around we are encouraged to serve the pagan gods of sex, money and power.

  20. Kevin scholes // October 2, 2015 at 7:26 pm // Reply

    To me this is so different and radical to todays christianity and yet in believing there must be works ie faith without works is dead

  21. Eencourager // October 3, 2015 at 6:35 am // Reply

    “Being angry” is not accurate for believers. If we have done our “Identity Homework” we know anger is not part of who we are. Dealing with any psych inclination is much easier by Grace when we embrace the New Creation. Recently I have thought about how anger impacts my physical body, perhaps shortening my days down here, and I have been tempted to blame others for my anger. None of us can legitimately do this, no matter how blatantly we are provoked. My dad was very angry until he came to know who he was in Christ and who Christ Jesus was in him. “Water on a duck’s back” comes to mind. More importantly we men, in particular, having to STOP giving ourselves HALL PASSES to express ourselves in anger. It’s not ok. Professor Dan

  22. nopiana sumallang // October 4, 2015 at 9:02 pm // Reply

    So interisting with Grace,,

  23. A blessed day Mr.Paul, I am attending in a grace based church and it’s really amazing how the gospel of grace reveal the person of Jesus Christ. But lately there is a doctrine that penetrates our church and it’s all about the “Second Chance Salavation” it teaches that all those who died even after the death of Christ who did not accept Him as Lord and personal savior will go to hades but still be given a chance to go to heaven. And so the question came, what about Hebrews 9:27 that a man will die only once then comea judgement? And the Pastor told us it is Jesus Christ who Hebrews 9:27 pertains to. He also told us that only Jesus died once because in new testament there is a lot of dead people being ressurected like the centurion child, Lazarus and many more so automatically they did not die once. Can you please Sir Paul give me your opinion in this subject. Can a person who died as an unbeliever will have a chance to be save and go to heaven?

    • Scripture is deliberately vague about what happens after death. There are two ways we can get this wrong: (1) assume there is no second chance and discover that there is, or (2) assume there is a second chance and discover that there isn’t. The second mistake is the one you don’t want to make. This mistake can lead to strange practices such as praying for the dead, having baptisms for the dead, and not telling people about Jesus.

      God can do whatever he wants, but the safest course of action for us is to act as though “now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2). Today is the day people need to hear the good news.

  24. I enjoy this message, but sometimes it feels like we’re being dipped into a bee hive when we should be experiencing the work that comes from rest. That cross is heavy!

  25. Cajetan Fernandes // November 11, 2018 at 3:52 am // Reply

    AMAZING !!!!!!!

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