Discussions Relating to Universal Reconciliation > Discussions on Universal Salvation

the critical difference between "good works" and "works of the law"

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Seth:
There is a debate among all Christians, but I have noticed especially among those who believe the truth of universal salvation. It has to do with what people call "works based salvation." So I thought I would approach this subject according to a small study I did regarding this issue. Before I post the scriptures, I will say that the guiding principle I will use is the clear statement of the Angel of God concerning Christ's mission.

Matthew 1:21
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Now we know that Jesus means (Jehovah saves). This shows us that the reason our Lord is named Jesus is BECAUSE he shall save his people from their sins. That is the motivating operator for everything Jesus does concerning the salvation of the world. When I was coming out of the ET circle, one of my confusions centered around "if not hell, then what are we saved from." People kept using the word "saved" and "salvation" but I never really knew what that meant anymore.

I didn't need to guess. The Bible tells me that Jehovah will save his people from their sin, and that through Jesus Christ. What I think we in the truth of the Gospel should probably start talking about is a VERY important distinction in the New Testament concerning "works."

There are "good works"
There are "works of the law"

Take a look:

"GOOD WORKS"

Romans 13:3
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same

Ephesians 2:10
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

1 Timothy 2:10
But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

1 Timothy 5:9-11
No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds. As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry.

1 Timothy 5:25
Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.

1 Timothy 6:17-18
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.

2 Timothy 3:16-18
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Titus 2:7
In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity

Titus 2:14
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Titus 3:8
This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

Titus 3:14
And let our's also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.

Hebrews 10:24
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works

1 Peter 2:12
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.


---------------

"WORKS OF THE LAW"

Romans 9:32
Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone

Galatians 2:16
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Galatians 3:2
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Galatians 3:5
He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Galatians 3:10
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.



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First of all, for all the folks that teach a duel evangel gospel, just take notice of how many of the "good works" scriptures are verses from the Epistles of who? That's right PAUL!!!  :LH:

Isn't that interesting? Curiously enough, I don't hear many people who teach the duel evangel theology discussing the importance of "good works" certainly not to the degree of the grace teacher, Paul. Could there be something about "grace" and "salvation" that that Paul understood, which is not often discussed? I think so.

Notice the difference in tone between the "good works" scriptures and the "works of the law" scriptures. It looks like good works seems to be of a HIGH priority to Paul, where works of the law are warned against.

So my question is to the forum is this: what do you think the difference is between "good works" and "works of the law?" If we are to be saved from sin, what part do you think that "good works" plays in salvation from sin?

I actually think one scripture presses the point home:


Galatians 3:5
He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Ah ha! That's the answer. THAT is why and HOW righteousness comes by faith. Righteousness is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. The spirit.....WORKETH. You see? But the Spirit does not WORKETH by works of the law, but the hearing of faith!

That is how righteousness given as a gift:

Philippians 3:8-9
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith



WhiteWings:
I think the theory is fairly simple but in everyday life it gets blured a bit.

If you goto church every sunday because that's needed to stay out of hell then you are working for profit.
If you goto church every sunday because you want to honor God that little bit extra because you really love Him is works of love.

Jesus healed on Sabbath out of love. Others let the sick be sick because they where earning heaven at that day.

It's, IMO, the intention of the act. Not the act itself.

Monks that asked a question about smoking.
Q: May we smoke during prayer?
A: No! You should concentrate during prayer.

The second group of monks asked the same question differently.
Q: May we pray during smoking?
A: Of course you may! It's always good to say an extra prayer.

It might seem an odd example at first but I think it perfectly describes this topic.
The act of smoking/praying is the same but the intentions not.
One group wanted to smoke to make praying more plesant.
The other group wanted to worship a little extra during smoking.
A vistor would just see 2 groups doing the same. Namely smoking during prayer.
But the intention is different.
Could that be the simple key/answer to this post?


WhiteWings:
Forgot to add. I started my post with:

--- Quote ---I think the theory is fairly simple but in everyday life it gets blured a bit.
--- End quote ---
Example of that. I used to give to charity once in a while. Just to help people. That was a simple fact.
But once I started nosing in the Bible I give more. But the fact is no longer simple. Have I become a better person because I give more (good works) or am I trying to bribe God?
I truely do not know the answer.

aspiring son:

--- Quote from: WhiteWings on September 12, 2009, 09:30:02 AM ---I think the theory is fairly simple but in everyday life it gets blured a bit.

If you goto church every sunday because that's needed to stay out of hell then you are working for profit.
If you goto church every sunday because you want to honor God that little bit extra because you really love Him is works of love.

Jesus healed on Sabbath out of love. Others let the sick be sick because they where earning heaven at that day.

It's, IMO, the intention of the act. Not the act itself.

Monks that asked a question about smoking.
Q: May we smoke during prayer?
A: No! You should concentrate during prayer.

The second group of monks asked the same question differently.
Q: May we pray during smoking?
A: Of course you may! It's always good to say an extra prayer.

It might seem an odd example at first but I think it perfectly describes this topic.
The act of smoking/praying is the same but the intentions not.
One group wanted to smoke to make praying more plesant.
The other group wanted to worship a little extra during smoking.
A vistor would just see 2 groups doing the same. Namely smoking during prayer.
But the intention is different.
Could that be the simple key/answer to this post?




--- End quote ---

Good post WW.

Matthew chapters 24 and 25 deal with the slothful servant. The ten virgins, five diligent in keeping their lamps buring, five who did not. And for those who did not the bridegroom says " I never knew you...."

As Eph 2-10 states we are called "unto good works". This is apart of the spirit of God working within us. If we do not feel the urge to in some way help someone in need than maybe we need to look a little harder at where we are in him.

As for the difference between this and works of the law? I read this just this morning.

"Which (water) in manner corresponding does now save you also even immersion, NOT A PUTTING AWAY OF THE FLESH,BUT THE REQUEST UNTO GOD FOR A GOOD CONSCIENCE 1 peter 3-21

Works of the law are simply trying to make the flesh perfect, which is prideful.

I think we all wonder if we are doing enough for him sometimes. But I feel that as WW posted it's about intent. No, I don't think we are all called to sponsor a starving child from a third world country. Maybe your neighbor down the street could use that extra 20 dollars? It's all about the works he has called us to do. I've given sporadically to charities, some because I felt the need, and admitedly sometimes just because I felt I wasn't doing enough. But I don't feel that God wants us to fell that way. If we pray for less of us so that he shines through more, than just as all of the above verses state, then we will be about our Father's business, and he will take care of the rest.

Grace and peace,

Brandon

Jerm:
I think Martin Luther is to blame for alot of the confusion here.  Although I think he got the basic idea right, "Justification by Faith Alone" was a horrible name for his docrtine because the only place in Scripture where the phrase "faith alone" or "faith only" is written in James and it has a big NOT right in front of it. (Then again, that's why Luther wanted James taken out of the canon)  Something I've had to come to grips with is the fact that justification is by faith and works.  HOWEVER THIS DOES NOT MEAN WE EARN OR MERIT SALVATION.  What James is saying here is works are required for justification because they are the natural outcome and thus natural evidence of a true transformation. Salvation is so much more that going to heaven when you die.  When we recieve the Spirit, it is from then on constantly at work in us, molding us into the image of Christ, so yes, the natural outcome is going to be a gradual transformation of who we are and how we live our lives.  Seeing this truth as well as the fact that when Paul says we are justified by faith apart from works of the law he meant the Jewish Torah has erased alot of errornous thinking from my mind, especially considering the Hyper Dispensational (Dual Gospel) ideaology.

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