The Lord’s return will usher in a judgment based on moral character. This character is revealed by the presence of charitable deeds or the lack of them. The verses following this text give a picture of a compassionate response to human suffering and need. Jesus declares that any good work done to those who hurt is good work done to Him. The outward evidence of our good works demonstrates inner righteousness. Good works do not produce good character. Good character produces good works.
Ephesians 2:10 further elaborates this truth. “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.” Before faith in Christ, our good works, however noble, offer no relief for man’s ultimate need, which is forgiveness of sin. After having received forgiveness through faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit begins a transformation in us that makes good works a by-product of our faith. James challenges us to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only” (1:22). Let us live as transformed people, serving with compassion the needy world around us.