Tuesday, August 11, 2009
GOOD WORKS ARE OF GOD
But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thy-self wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
who will render to every man according to his deeds:
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew First, and also to the Gentile:
For there is no respect of persons with God.
May the Lord bless us with the spirit and wisdom to rightly divide the word of truth and not attempt to handle the word of God deceitfully. (II Corinthians 4:2)
Are we afraid to use this text because Arminians handle it deceitfully?
As the Lord blesses us, let us consider the 6th verse: “Who will render to every man according to his deeds.”
First, may Almighty God bless us to establish the fact that this text is not conditional: that the blessings in time (Ephesians 1:3) and salvation (Ephesians 2:8-10) are not conditional.
As for our blessings in time, please consider these Scriptures which support the belief that God works in His people to do that which is acceptable in the sight of the Lord: “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, MAKE YOU perfect in EVERY GOOD WORK to do His will, WORKING IN YOU that which is WELL PLEASING in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to WHOM be glory for ever and ever. Amen”. (Hebrews 13:20-21).
Please notice that it is the Spirit of God who WORKS WITHIN the children of God to walk in good works; THAT is well pleasing in the sight of the Lord. (See Philippians 2:13).
Man, by his efforts, wisdom, etc., cannot do anything that would merit the favor, blessings, grace, etc., of Almighty God. “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not IN himself: it is not IN man that walketh to direct his steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23).
“The steps of a good man ARE ORDERED by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand.”
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
This Scripture shows that man by nature will not seek after righteousness. May the Lord bless you to examine the following Scripture carefully and see that the Lord must enable one to hunger and thirst after righteousness. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23).
There is nothing that man can do to merit the favor or grace of God, whether it is for blessings in time or for heaven.
Grace is the gift of God!
Now “to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.” (Romans 4:4).
If we worked for our blessings or earned them by our deeds, then the reward would be by debt, and not by grace.
(And IF we could by our “good” deeds place God under bondage.. . in debt . . . to us, then surely Christ would be more a servant to the adopted children than to the Father; for Christ said “…I and my Father are one.” But He left no doubt as to our relationship to Him when He said, “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.” John 13-13.
Christ has the pre-eminence in all things. He is not under obligation to the Holy angels, much less to man. ——G.E.D.)
In connection with the text, let us consider the fact that the children of God DO walk in good works and bring forth good fruit.
“Their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord.”
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit and that your fruit should remain.”
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES; it is a gift of God: not OF WORKS, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO GOOD WORKS, which GOD HATH BEFORE ORDAINED that we SHOULD WALK IN THEM.”
This quotation has reference to the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, . . . “ (Isaiah 61:10).
This is the righteousness that Jesus gives to His people.
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and CAUSE YOU TO WALK in my statutes, and ye SHALL KEEP my judgments AND DO THEM.”
“For it is God which WORKETH IN YOU both to will and TO DO of His good pleasure.”
It is good to read and prove by the Scriptures that God CAUSES His people to WALK IN GOOD WORKS, and man has nothing of which to boast.
“Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast WROUGHT ALL OUR WORKS IN US.”
Would any argue that the good which the child of grace does is motivated by his flesh? — G.E.D.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; That the MAN OF GOD may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
(II Timothy 3:16-17).
“Who will render to every man according to his deeds.” We trust the Lord has blessed us to establish the fact that the good works of God’s people are produced by the Spirit of God, and their slips, falls, shortcomings, etc., are products of the works of the flesh. It is the spirit of Satan that leads the children of God astray.
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
(I John 4:1)
The false prophets are led by the wrong spirit.
What is the source of the wrong spirit which leads the false prophets?
The prince of the power of the air (or Satan) is the spirit that works in the children of disobedience.
“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 WORK-ETH IN THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE.”
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”
(I Timothy 4:1).
Notice carefully this has reference to events Almighty God has purposed that must take place in the latter days. Satan is the source of the seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. I believe that Satan is very cunning and brings forth an element of truth in order to interject error. We have heard it said that the most dangerous man against the truth is the one who comes the closest before he misses it. Satan misuses the wonderful doctrine of predestination to upset exhortations, reproofs, rebukes, practices, etc. Those who are caught in this error accuse one of being a conditionalists, or Arminian, when he is blessed to use exhortations, reproofs, rebukes, etc. Paul says, “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.” (II Timothy 4:2).
“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.”
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye WALK WORTHY of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
I believe that Almighty God has a purpose in the exhortations which He has inspired His ones to write. “…. Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (II Peter 1:21). Exhortations have an effect upon the hearers when one is moved by the Holy Spirit of God to use them, whether this is, in private conversation among brethren or when a minister is preaching. One should keep in mind that Satan uses exhortations in the Scriptures to bring forth that Arminian concept which attempts to rob God of the honor, praise and glory that belong unto His Holy Name. (See Titus 3:8 and Galatians 6:7)
“But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a DOER of the work, this man shall be BLESSED IN HIS DEED.''
So you see, it is the Lord who blesses one to be a “doer of the word” and they DO it. “But whosoever hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but IN DEED and in truth.” (I John 3:17-18; Romans 2:13).
Webster gives this definition of Antinomian: “One who holds that, under the gospel dispensation, the moral law is of no use or obligation, faith alone being necessary to salvation.” Compare this definition with James 2:17-18: “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 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.”
Again, observe how cunning Satan is. Some who grieve over the false doctrine of antinomianism . . . of “hiding one’s sins, faults, shortcomings, etc., behind the Providence of the Lord (In reality they are never hid... “Be SURE thy sin will find thee out”.) may be tempted to shun preaching predestination; or Satan may tempt one to go a little too far in the other direction and into conditionalism, or Arminianism (freewillism). “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: Remove thy foot from evil.” (Proverbs 4:26-27; Deuteronomy 5-32; Ezekiel 1:12)
May the Lord bless us to keep this Scripture fresh in our minds: “Who will render to every man according to his deeds.” Render means to give, deliver, to pay back, etc.
Compare with Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” This is a heart-searching matter between one and the Lord: we reap what we sow.
Let us examine a portion of God’s message to the angel of the CHURCH in Thyatira: “and I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill HER CHILDREN with death; and ALL THE CHURCHES shall KNOW that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I WILL GIVE UNTO EVERY ONE OF YOU ACCORDING TO YOUR WORKS.” (Revelation 2:21-23)
Are we going to call the Bible language conditional?
We believe the above Scriptures are in harmony with our text.
If our deeds have been evil, what will we reap — and do the Scriptures give us the answer?
“But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” (Colossians 3:25).
There is no way of hiding from the Lord. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3).
Read Romans 2:8-9 already quoted.
Why does God bring tribulations and anguish upon His people?
This is one of the Lord’s ways to chasten His people, humble them, and to cause them to bring forth good fruit.
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceful fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
“ . . . the Almighty hath afflicted me.”
“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.”
“I know, 0 Lord that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faith-fulness hast afflicted me.”
What do the Scriptures say about God “trying” His people?
“But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath TRIED me, I shall come forth as gold.”
“For Thou, 0 God, han proved us: Thou hast TRIED us, as silver is tried.”
“And I will turn my hand upon thee, and surely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin.”
“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of afflictions”
“ . . Behold, I will melt them, and TRY them. . .“
“….though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:” meaning it is the Lord’s purpose that it is necessary for you to be cast down in darkness for a season.
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”
(II Corinthians 4:8-9)
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be TRIED with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
(I Peter 1:6-7).
These trials, afflictions, tribulations, etc., are not pleasant to the flesh and we would desire to miss them, but it is not for us to determine our course, and this wise God of heaven and earth has purposed the pathway we must travel. In the midst of these trials, it pleases the Lord to bless us with a taste of heaven from time to time and this gives us sufficient strength and grace to press on in this wilderness of sin and sorrow.
“...the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” (Psalm 68-6).
Until it pleases the Lord to bless them to be content with their condition or reconciled to the will of Almighty God.
One is brought very low when the chastening hand of Almighty God is up-on him, and all this causes him to plead and cry unto the Lord for mercy. “Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Thy name... “ (Psalm 142:7).
All one can do is to wait and pray unto the Lord for deliverance.
“My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning; I say, more than they that watch for the morning.”
“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry.”
It is wonderful to know the Lord hears the cries of His people.
“Thou knoweth my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandeth my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether.”
It causes us to rejoice that our God is “acquantied with all my ways” and is tenderly watching over us.
“I will keep thee as the apple of mine eye.”
“….for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye.”(Zechariah 2:8)
When one is delivered from the prison of darkness, this causes him to sing praises unto the Lord for His tender mercies.
“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings, and He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.”
This causes you to speak "to yourselves in hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." (See Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).
If our deeds have been acceptable unto the Lord, what do we reap?
“But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.”
Man has nothing to boast about because one must be led and directed by the Spirit of God before he can produce deeds, good works, etc., that are acceptable to the Lord. Therefore, the Arminians believing in conditionalism cannot truthfully use this text in support of their theory; which is contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures. Nor can the antinomian doubt for a moment that he shall not receive a full rendering for his fleshly deeds. (James 1:13; Romans 3:8; Romans 6:1-2).
May the Lord bless us to look unto Him for all of our needs and keep us from seeking after vain glory and keep us from bowing down before the scorn of men.
“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: What can man do unto me?”
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
“ . . . fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.”
“ . . .do I seek to please men? for if I yet please men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
May the Lord bless this article for the edification of the readers who will render all honor, praise, and glory to Almighty God.
By Woodrow W. Hudson
“Good Works are the fruit of faith, and follow after justification, and are the evidences of a gracious state.”