In his 8th Homily on 1 John, Augustine is speaking about the issue of whether followers of Jesus should allow their good deeds to be seen by other people. Taking in Jesus’ warning about doing things in order to be seen by others (Matt 6:1), Augustine concludes that if we are seeking to glorify God we will not hide our good deeds (Mat 5:16), but will point people to him “from whom you have the means to good”. In Paul Augustine finds a striking example of someone who “set his goal not at his own praise but at the praise of God”, which is evident because:
“Paul loves for his sins to be recounted by us so that he who healed so grave a disease might be glorified”.
It’s easy to question our motives for doing good, but Paul’s example provides a good test: If we are used to public service of Christ, a good question to ask ourselves might be “do we love for our sins as well as our good deeds to be recounted so that our Saviour might be glorified?”
And if we are seeking Christ to be glorified where he is not named e.g. in the workplace, we should be encouraged that it is not perfection that is needed but allowing the full glory of the Sun of Righteousness’ healing rays to be seen.