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  Works & Faith

Not owing to works

Ephesians 2:9

 Eph 2:8,9, "for by grace ye are having been saved, through faith, and this not of you--of God the gift, 9 not of works, that no one may boast." (YLT)

What does Paul mean, exactly?

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God preordained that we should walk in them. (ACV)
The importance of understanding this correctly is paramount to all Christians since upon this the whole of our Christian existence and activity hinges! First, before explaining what Paul meant in Ephesians 2:9, it is good to show another of Paul's inspired sayings! 
II Corinthians 5:10, For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of the Christ, so that each man may receive back about the things that he did through the body, whether good or bad.

That scripture pretty much sets the tone for what Paul explains much about.  This same emphasis on faith having works is also stated emphatically by Paul in Hebrews chapter eleven.  This chapter most Christians are familiar with.  Perhaps a bit of meditaion on it may be helpful?  It will become singularly obvious that Paul is talking about The Works of Law as opposed to The Works of Faith. This point about Works of Faith is presently the point of contention as many so called Christians dispute the need for Works of Faith!

Let’s establish rules of engagement: Since God is a God of order and not of disorder, we must conclude that the Bible is harmonic and that God will not contradict himself from place to place: 1 Cor 14:33 For God is [a God], not of disorder, and, Tit 1:2 God, who cannot lie. The following scriptures will thus prove that Works of Faith leads to eternal life, but that Works of Law leads to eternal condemnation and that Works of Faith are essential to the Christian for receiving the reward of everlasting life.

Works of Law and Faith

Rom. 3:20 , Because by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified before him. For by the law is the knowledge of sin. (DRC) 

Rom 3:26 . . . declaring righteous him that hath faith in Jesus. . . .28 For we reckon that a man is to be declared righteous by faith, apart from works of law. (Rotherham)

4:14, For, if they who are of law are heirs, made void is faith and of no effect is the promise.(Rotherham) 

9:31,32, Whereas, Israel, though in pursuit of a law of righteousness, unto a law, have not attained. 32Wherefore? Because, not by faith but as by works, have they sought it . . . 

10:4 4For Christ is an end of law, for righteousness, unto every one that believeth. (Rotherham)

The Law referred to here is the Law Covenant.

Gal 2:16 Knowing, however, that a man is not declared righteous by works of law, nor at all save through faith in Christ Jesus; even we, on Christ Jesus, believed, that we might be declared righteous—by faith in Christ, and not by works of law; because, by works of law, shall no flesh be declared righteous

3: 10 For, as many as are of works of law, are, under a curse,—for it is written—Accursed, is everyone that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them. (Rotherham) 3:22b the promise resulting from faith toward Jesus Christ might be given to those exercising faith. (NW) 

The summary of these scriptures is self evident. Faith in, exercising faith, in Christ Jesus is the ticket to eternal life! 

Law of Faith proved through works of faith

What  did Paul really teach about faith and works?

Romans 2:6-7 . . . who will render to each man according to his works, 7to those who indeed seek by perseverance of good work, glory and esteem and immortality--eternal life-- . . . (ACV) 

This of course is what James talks about here:

James 2:14-18 What is the benefit, my brothers, if some man should say to have faith, but has no works? Can the faith save him? 15And if a brother or sister may be unclothed, and may be destitute of daily food, 16and some man of you would say to them, Go in peace, be ye warmed and fed, but ye would not give them the things necessary for the body, what is the benefit? 17So also faith, if it has no works, is dead by itself. 18But some man will say, Thou have faith, and I have works. Show me thy faith from thy works, and I will show thee from my works my faith. (ASV)
Many scriptures demonstrate that none are declared righteous by works of the Law Covenant, such are under a curse. Likewise, many also demonstrate that none are declared righteous without works of faith. Jesus himself told his followers that he is the true wine, and that they are the branches. Mind you this, Jesus also told them that anyone not bearing fruit would be destroyed!
John 15:1-2,6 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 As to every branch in me not bearing fruit, he takes it away; and as to every one bearing fruit, he purges it that it may bring forth more fruit. 6 Unless any one abide in me he is cast out as the branch, and is dried up; and they gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. (Darby)
In his parable about the men building houses, one built on sand and the other on rock foundation, Jesus likened the one building on sand to anyone not obeying Jesus and doing his commandments, saying that this one's fall would be great ! (Matt 7:24-27) Likewise, in the parable about the ten minas (Luke 19:13-23), which is about Jesus himself, he gives ten servants a charge each. They are to do business with their master's property so as to make a profit. In the case of the one that didn't discharge his responsibility and did nothing, we see that the slave was pronounced wicked and he was dismissed from serving his master any longer!
Luke 19:24-26, And he said to those that stood by, Take from him the mina and give it to him who has the ten minas. 25And they said to him, Lord, he has ten minas. 26For I say unto you, that to every one that has shall be given; but from him that has not, that even which he has shall be taken from him. (Darby)
II Corinthians 4:13 And having the same spirit of faith, according to that which is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we also believe, and therefore we speak. (ACV)
Those that believe that they are saved simply by faith or grace by just being a believer – should, apart from meditating on the above, ask themselves: how is the global preaching work to be accomplished by Christians, which was prophesied by Christ himself in Matt 24:14 and other places, if all we need to do is say, "I believe" ?

All Bible students must remember the great effort the first century Christians put into their faith and why they were called martyrs! This word means witness, and indeed, Yes, these all made that word famous for that reason because as witnesses of God and his Christ they were killed by the authorities of this world. They exercised faith to the point of sacrificing their soul in preaching the gospel so that they might have it back in the resurrection, eternally.
Matthew 16:24-26, Then Jesus said to his disciples, If any one desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whosoever shall desire to save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26For what does a man profit, if he should gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Darby)
In Revelation 22:12, God says something we should meditate on:
12Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to each man according as his work is.
Thus God affirms with an easy to understand statement that our works count.  Paul in Hebrews doesn't say the same, but he talks about obedience to Christ's commandments:
Hebrews 5:9, and having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation
Jesus said the same in the parable about the two houses.  Here he likened the obedient one to someone building his house on an unmovable foundation that would outlast a terrible storm.  The disobedient one was the one that had the terrible disaster and lost all.

Faith and Undeserved Kindness

Romans 3:24-25 being declared righteous freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God did set forth a mercy seat, through the faith in his blood, for the shewing forth of His righteousness, because of the passing over of the bygone sins in the forbearance of God-- (YLT)

Romans 4:4-5 and to him who is working, the reward is not reckoned of grace, but of debt; 5and to him who is not working, and is believing upon Him who is declaring righteous the impious, his faith is reckoned--to righteousness: (YLT)

God’s gift of eternal life is not for sale. The gift of eternal life is God’s gift of undeserved kindness through faith in Christ Jesus. Since we are all sinners, works of law serve to condemn us as we are unable to observe all laws and as such we are found to be law breakers deserving of death—the reward of sin.

Works of faith are an absolute requirement!

Already twice the phrase “exercising faith” has appeared, this in of itself entails exercise meaning activity, doing, or working on faith. 

Proving this we read

2 Timothy 2:15, diligently to present thyself approved to God . . . (Darby) 

2 Peter 1:10, Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble (ASV) 

Gal 6:9, And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (KJV)

2 Pet 1:10, Wherefore, brethren, labour the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election. For doing these things, you shall not sin at any time. (Diaglott)

Phil 2:12b, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Webster)

Habakkuk 2:4 one who is righteous, by his faithfulness, shall live. (Rotherham) 

James 2:18, Also a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works (Webster)

24 Ye see then that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.


A Christian Work

Matt 28:19-20, And Jesus coming up spoke to them, saying, All power has been given me in heaven and upon earth. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them to the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; 20teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have enjoined you. And behold, *I* am with you all the days, until the completion of the age. (Darby)

1 Corinthians 9:16, For if I preach the good-news, it is not a source of pride for me, for an obligation is laid upon me. And woe is to me if I do not preach the good-news. (ACV)

2 Timothy 4:1-2, I solemnly testify therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is going to judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom, 2preach the word, stand ready in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. (ACV)

Summary: Faith is dead without works. The works of faith are not optional! Without them the dead faith leads to eternal death, damnation. These works include preaching the Good News about God’s Kingdom ruled by Christ, God’s installed King,. They also include the loving care for our poor Christian brothers and sisters.

Hebrews chapter eleven and works:

 Famous Works of Faith

4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain . . .
7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned about things not yet seen, moved with awe, prepared an ark for the salvation of his house . . .
8 By faith Abraham, when called, obeyed to go out to the place that he was going to take for an inheritance . . .
17By faith Abraham, being tested, offered Isaac . . .
20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau about things coming. . .
23By faith Moses, after being born, was hid three months by his parents . . .  (ACV)

and so forth!

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