Titus 3:14, Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.
Good works for salvation? No! Good works for those who are in need. Good works are not done for our sake, but for the sake of our neighbour who needs our good works. This means to “surrender yourself completely to your neighbour and serve him, wherever he needs and wherever you can” (from the Church Postil, sermon for Advent 1 on Matthew 21:1-9, Luther’s Works 75:42). Our good works are only good because God deems them good by faith; without faith, therefore, our good works can only be wicked (cf. Hebrews 11:6). Furthermore, even when we have faith and do good works for merely selfish reasons (e.g. to show off and appear good before others, to make ourselves feel good, thinking we acquire salvation), the work is not good, for it was done with sinful intent. A Christian never does good works for himself, but out of love for his neighbour. It is that desire to see the good welfare of your neighbour, which one may call compassion. It is that desire to sow the seed of God’s Word, for His Word not only speaks, but also acts.