Dear ones, this is going to be a quick and short refutation. Recently I heard, in a couple different circumstances, that when we face trials or our prayers have gone unanswered, we ought to remind God of all the good things we’ve done. Joel Osteen recommended this particular tactic for manipulating God into doing what you want. I doubt that he’s the first to suggest this, but seems to be the one popularizing it today. Others, such as Kenneth Copeland, have boldly proclaimed our ability to command God, and even said that he doesn’t ask but tells God what he wants. Both Copeland and Osteen come from the Word of Faith movement, though they take a different approach, it’s no surprise to see them aligned in a theological matter. This particular one just happens to be the ultimate height of pride and arrogance.
I couldn’t find a direct verse used to back this belief up, but it appears to be loosely based on James 2:18-22. This is one of those verses that frequently finds itself twisted to suit works based religions. It’s clear from the context, and a plain reading of the text, that James is simply explaining that there will be evidence of salvation in the heart of the believer. Those of us who have been given the gift of faith will have works, we will hate sin and love God, His commands, and His people. We don’t do good deeds as collateral for negotiations with our Lord and Savior. The very ability to do good deeds comes from God, as He graciously sanctifies us. He gives us love for one another, that is not something we are able to work in our own hearts.
Something that’s very important to understand in the WoF movement that makes these teachers so dangerous is their man centered theology. Faith is not a gift from God, it’s a force we wield at God. Good works are not an evidence of change within us, they’re points accumulated in a heavenly account to get money and health on earth. It’s not all of grace, it’s all of man. This teaching, that we should remind God of our good works, is the clearest example of this I’ve heard to date. Our righteousness, dear ones, is like rags, filthy rags. If you know the literal meaning of the word used in that verse you’ll know just how filthy without me having to write it. If we go before God to bring anyone’s good deeds to Him it ought only to be Christ’s. His righteousness is imputed unto us, that is why we are able to stand on the day of Judgement. If you’re going through a difficult time, consider that tremendous truth. Reject any idea of pointing to your own goodness. And as always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.