---E.R. Hall, Jr.
WORKS OF THE LAW OF MOSES. "And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." (Acts 13:39). "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 2:16). To justify such works as observing the Sabbath or using mechanical instruments of music in worship to God based on Old Testament teaching are works that will not save us despite our sincerity.
WORKS OF OUR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"(Titus 3:5). "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." (Romans 10:3). Anything you, I, or anyone else concocts and makes it a matter of faith, is "our own righteousness". Only God's commandments are righteousness (Psalms 119:172). In Jesus' day, the Pharisees made the washing of hands a religious act. This was of their own righteousness and Jesus sternly rebuked them for it (Matthew 15:1,2). Whenever we establish our own righteousness, we likewise transgress the commandment of God. Again, doing works of our own righteousness will never save us regardless of how long we've done them or how sincere we may be.
DEAD/WICKED WORKS. "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God," (Hebrews 6:1) "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9:14). "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled."(Colossians 1:21). Dead/wicked works are the "evil deeds" that are spoken of in such passages as John 3:19, 20 and 2 John 1:11. Dead/wicked works will never save us even though "everybody is doing it" is sometimes given as justification.
THE WORKS OF GOD. "Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6:28,29). These folks must have had a better understanding about the necessity of works than some people today. Those who teach "works have nothing to do with saving us" would have never asked this question. Why ask such a question when works aren't important, according to them? There are things that God commands or requires. When we do those things, we are doing a work but it is not a work of our own righteousness nor is it a dead or wicked work. It is a work of God because it originated from God. These two verses also point out something very strange. The same folks that say "works have nothing to do with saving you", teach that you must have faith. Well, these verses tell us that faith is a work! Oh, but, if I hear them correctly, they're saying, "Works don't save us!" If that is true, we can be saved without faith because faith is a work. Do you see the dilemma that is created when we begin to use one scripture against another? The Scriptures harmonize! They do not contradict!
GOOD WORKS. "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10). God's design, when He created us, was for us to engage in good works. That is what He wants us to "walk in" or, in other words, that is how He wants us to live. The Holy Scriptures have been given to us so that we might know what these "good works" are. "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, throughly furnished unto ALL GOOD WORKS."
"Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; WHOSE END SHALL BE ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS." (2 Cor. 11:15). "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord REWARD HIM ACCORDING TO HIS WORKS:" (2 Tim. 4:14). "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and THEIR WORKS DO FOLLOW THEM." (Rev. 14:13). "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and THEY WERE JUDGED EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS. "(Rev. 20:12,13). "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, TO GIVE EVERY MAN ACCORDING AS HIS WORK SHALL BE." (Rev. 22:12).
---E.R. Hall, Jr.