It has been a common and pernicious confusion, in the Missouri Synod in particular, to think that good works aren’t good works if the doer becomes aware of them. That is false. It is true, in a sense, that our good works are corrupted by our fallen nature. They aren’t perfectly pure. They don’t merit God’s favor. When we become aware of them our pride gets involved. But it is not true that the corruption takes away their objective goodness. You might feed your daughter in the hope that she will love you for it, that you will be rewarded, or just that she will stop crying, but the food that you give her still does what it was meant to do. God provides for her through you, and that is good, even if you are not perfect in every way and knew you were just fulfilling your duty.
Thy Kingdom Come: Lent and Easter Sermons
David H. Peterson