In Paul’s writings, he makes it crystal clear that we are saved by grace through faith and not of our own works, lest we should boast. However, one thing that people do not realize is that there are two types of works that are mentioned in Ephesians, chapter 2. In verses 8 and 9, we learn about our own works. It reads, 3“for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” However, in verse 10, we learn about the kind of works that God does in people’s lives. It reads, 3“for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Therefore, our own works can never help us, but only detract us from doing the works of God in our lives. You see, our own works lead people to boast in themselves, but the works that God has us to do causes us to boast in the Lord for His goodness. There is a big difference and therefore, it is important to understand the type of life you are living. Now, in James, chapter 2, we learn more about the works that God would have us do. It reads, 4“what doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” Therefore, we learn that Godly works are what define our faith in God.
Our own works, no matter how good they seem, do more harm than not. This is why a desire to be led by the Spirit of God, and not ourselves, is so important. This way we can do what Jesus says and mean it when we call Him Lord. As Jesus said, 1“why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Now this brings us back to what Paul meant in Romans, chapter 4. In this chapter he mentions things that may seem contrary to what was just taught. It reads, 2“now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” So what is happening here? We have a person trying to do different works to please God. However, these works put them more in debt with God, where their faith is what really helps them. It was before Abraham was circumcised that his faith was enough to put a seal of righteousness upon him. 2“For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” So these other works were done in order to fulfill the law. However, we learn that all God cares about is true faith. This way, he can impute his righteousness upon us. This allows us to know what God wants for our lives and live that way in faith. The action of living in righteousness is doing the works of God, that he hath ordained us to walk in. This is why true faith also includes Godly works in our lives, not our own, lest we should boast, otherwise our faith is dead.
Let us pray:
Lord God, I pray that we learn the importance of our faith in You and no longer do our own things to serve you. For I know that my own works are only filthy rags. I can do nothing of my own will to show my faith in You, but only through seeking You daily in prayer and Bible study will I know how to serve You better. It is not what I feel is good but what You feel is good in my life that matters. My ways are destructive but Your ways are righteous and pure. Therefore, I come unto You daily for a refreshing of Your knowledge and great counsel for my life. I know that I am weak but am made strong in You. Only in You, Jesus, do I know the way and am able to walk in it. My desires are to not only say that I love You but to demonstrate that same love in action, while doing what You say. So Lord, poor down Your Spirit upon me. Overflow my being with Your presence. Teach me to walk in Your ways. Lead me away from temptation and every wicked way. I do not wish to quench the Spirit but to be led by the Spirit. So please help me to walk in Your good works, that You have ordained for us all. I love Your ways and want to always do Your will and not my own. You are my Savior and I need You to take me by the hand and lead me safely home. I rely on You, Lord, for the safety of my soul. In You, there is salvation, and therefore, my heart ever wants to be with You and never leave Your side. I love You Lord. Amen.
Let us read the Bible:
Note: Any Numbered References, found above, are listed below.
1Luke 6:46-49 (KJV)
46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
2Romans 4:1-13 (KJV)
1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
3Ephesians 2:1-10 (KJV)
1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
1James 2:14-26 (KJV)
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.