UNTO GOOD WORKS
Ephesians 2:8 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.
In our last article we looked at the phrase, “Not of Works.” God’s true salvation is never obtained by the efforts of the sinner. For as the first verse of this chapter clearly states, the sinner is “dead in trespasses and sins.” And how could a sinful man think to add anything to, or substitute his religious efforts for, the perfect work of the holy Lamb of God in the accomplishment of the atonement?
Yet now we do come to the matter of the God-ordained works that, without fail, always accompany a true regeneration experience. For as James rightly teaches us, “Faith without works is dead.” James 2:17 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? 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
The Lord Jesus spoke of these “good works” of the believer and how they would be able to glorify God. Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. The definition of sin is the “coming short of the glory of God.” And there is none other than the Person of the Eternal Son of God who can recover that glory. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
For he alone could, by his own life as the very author of faith, re-establish the righteousness of good works acceptable to the Father for the lost sinner! Matthew 3:13 ¶ Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
The first Adam physically committed an act of sin and all the human race became sinners. So by the recovery of righteousness by the acts of the last Adam, all those in him became righteous! Romans 5:17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
For as James has said, true, God-accepted faith must be evidenced by good works, or it is a dead faith, which is no faith at all!
And that glory, lost in sin, is recovered solely in salvation by the sovereign grace of God alone, applied to the elect sinner’s heart through the glorious gospel. And that gospel is nought else but the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ applied by the Holy Spirit in sovereign regeneration. 2 Thessalonians 2:14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
One of the most important matters which we must not overlook in our tenth verse of this Ephesians two passage is that these specific “good works” are as much ordained and chosen by God as those who are created to walk in them! All these “good trees” shall, without fail bring forth good fruit. It cannot be otherwise! Matthew 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
It is utterly impossible for the Holy Spirit, who dwells within the born-again believer to sin! 1 John 3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 5:18 ¶ We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. We are not saying that the believer cannot sin. But we are saying that the Holy Spirit dwelling within the believer cannot sin!
We know by experience that, due to the indwelling, remaining corruption within us, that we struggle with sin every day. John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. We are all too conscious of the warfare within us between that which is born of the flesh with that which is born of the Spirit. Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
And being only attentive to the corruption of the fleshly man, we have allowed that to overcome us with such force that we consider not that we are fully accepted in the beloved and sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus! But our text clearly informs us these good works are as much chosen and elected by God as we are! But dear Reader, there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus! Carefully consider these verses:
Romans 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. 8:1 ¶ There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
There is a vast difference between conviction and condemnation! The Holy Spirit does convict us of sin; but he does not condemn us for it! For Christ has already paid for that sin. That horrible sense of guilt is the work of Satan using our fleshly man to destroy our joy in Christ Jesus. The Lord warns us of this. Revelation 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Only “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ” can make you “free from the law of sin and death” which condemning law is prompted by Satan through our flesh! Ephesians 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
We must walk by faith in the Lord that he has done a perfect work of redemption within us. It is He who stands before the throne on our behalf. Again – We are accepted in the beloved! He is our perfect righteousness! Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Jude 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
“Dressed in his righteousness alone;
Faultless to stand before his throne.”
Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
John 14:19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. His life sustains us in our spiritual life. We are the branches on his vine.
All those represented by the prodigal who have returned to the father’s house from the hog pens of the world are fitted with a new robe. In this, we see that Adam’s nakedness was covered by a sacrificial animal, which is our robe of righteousness. Luke 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: Revelation 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
Your soul’s servant,
Pastor Gene Breed
August 24, 2023