Created for good works

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Reformed, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. Reformed

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    Matthew 5:16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

    Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

    What are good works?

    How does a Christian let their light shine in such a way that God gets the glory and not them?

    If Christians are created for good works, what are we to make of those professed believers who do not exhibit good works?
     
  2. Iconoclast

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    Reformed

    This is a 24/7 responsibility

    As we are elected and called to be conformed to the image of the Son,God in His wise providence has ordained the good works as a means to expand the Kingdom in this world.

    The good works are all Kingdom duties and service done in conformity to the decalogue which is active in the heart of Christians.

    By God's grace and prayer they obey these verses in Col3;
    17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

    22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;

    23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

    24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.


    Consider them to be in danger.Do not give them any false hope,encourage them to draw near to God and point out the implication of this verse to them; heb12:

    14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord::wavey::thumbsup:
     
  3. Reformed

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    Anthony, this is an interesting way of describing good works.

    When I asked "what are good works?" I was expecting to hear a list of specific works like acts of mercy or loving the brethren. But you described good works as "all Kingdom duties and service done in conformity to the decalogue". Of course, the Decalogue being the Ten Commandments. How would conformity to the Decalogue differ from Jesus' command that we love one another (JN 13:34, 35) or James' admonition that we visit widows and orphans in their distress (Jas. 1:27)?
     
  4. Iconoclast

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    Hello Reformed,
    It is through law keeping that the love of God finds full expression.
    In the first Exodus Israel was exhibit a fuller expression of the 10 commandments in the ceremonial and judicial laws. They did not do so as they said they would.God made provision in the law and they did not follow in obedience.
    The church is now the holy nation. In sunday school one week.....I listed laws from lev .19-20.......and then looked to see if and where these teachings were found in the NT.....most were! it was an eye opening study.
    Personal conformity to the decalogue....leading to personal piety, flows over into external conduct to those who are outside the Kingdom.
    If we are even commanded to love our enemies.....how much more, widows and orphans....

    5 For every man shall bear his own burden.

    6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

    7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

    8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

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

    10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
     
  5. agedman

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    The "full expression" is Love. However it is not found in keeping the decalogue. It is found by maturing in Christ.

    Peter said:
    4For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
    I don't see the decalogue in that list, and there is no doubt that the results of the list is "the divine nature."


    I will agree that "keeping the law" is not divided from or not impacting the life and living of a believer.

    However, keeping the law does NOT result in love that you desire to show in your post.

    The "law" is to be a guide, not master. It is to aid in forming principles to live by, but not "laws" to shackle.

    John discusses this issue in 1 John:
    9By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. ...

    19We love, because He first loved us. 20If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

    Iconoclast, it is a caution to not place the law as providing anything but a pointer to show the need of Christ. That is all the law ever accomplished. Every response by Israel to the law in sacrifice and offerings showed the need of Christ and pointed to the promise of redemption.

    The Law does not generate, nor can it create love. It generates need for love, and understanding of how "degenerate" a believer is when "Christ does not dwell in them richly."

    Again, staying with John for "consistency of proof," the next chapter opens with:

    1 John 5:
    1Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. 3For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. 4For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
    The love of God AND keeping the commandments (the two TOGETHER) result in a love of the "brethren" and that is demonstrable proof to the world. The three are linked and inseparable.

    One cannot rightly love the brethren without loving God; loving God means that one will keep His commandments; and loving God and the commandments will be proved (demonstrated) by the correct manifestation of the love of the brethren. That demonstration is a gauge (think thermometer) of just how the relationship to God and His commandments is growing in the believer.

    This is most important, because ultimately the believer is known as a true believer not by keeping the commandments, nor by loving God, but because the believer demonstrates love toward other believers.

    The world can accuse the believer of a lack of love by mocking one who stumbles at the feet of a commandment.

    The world can ridicule the believer's lack of love by scorning the Scriptures and manifestations of worship.

    However, the world cannot help but recognize the witness of the believer who loves the other believers. Who demonstrates that love in maturity because they have grown (matured) in the steps set forth by Peter in the passage first quoted in this post - in which the ultimate is Love - The SAME love as God has for us.

    In short, Love is NOT brought or coming by or through keeping the commandments, but the Love of God and keeping His commandments.
     
    #5 agedman, Nov 7, 2013
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  6. quantumfaith

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    Great discussion gentlemen.

    From my own experience, when I am "more obedient" in all areas of my spiritual life, I find it "naturally" more easy to demonstrate "love" to those around me. Sadly, Romans 7 is far too often a reality for me.

    FYI Watching the Billy Graham special on Fox News.
     
    #6 quantumfaith, Nov 7, 2013
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  7. saturneptune

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    The whole book of James addresses that. A saved person's nature will produce good works as a byproduct of his or her salvation. No works, not saved. The other deadly concept is good works before salvation. It is vital that everyone understand the relationship between works and faith.
     
  8. Reformed

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    SN,

    I certainly understand that view. As an elder I have to be careful in my pastoral approach. Christians do fall into bad ways. There may be a period or time in our life where there is no obvious obedience or fruit. There may be sin to repent of. There may also be great trauma that may have taken place that has sent the believer into a tailspin.

    It is a difficult subject to navigate when it comes down to dealing with an individual. Looking at it from altitude I tend to agree with you. The reality is that our theology often takes place where the rubber hits the road.
     
  9. saturneptune

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    There is no conflict in our views. This crosses over to those on this board that think they know the state of this or that persons salvation 100%. First of all, when I say no good works, I mean over a large period of time. It is not so much this or that sin that creeps up, it is a long term attitude of laziness and apathy.

    For example, I could be driving downtown on Saturday night and see someone stagger out of a bar and fall into the gutter. That is a snapshot in time. This could well be a Christian that had a trial, tribulation, or tragedy he or she could not deal with. Because of simple, flawed minds, we pronounce this person lost.

    On the other hand, another snapshot in time, is a well dressed person at church all smiles dropping lots of money in the plate. This person's inner being could be from the pits of hell, and has not lifted one finger to serve the Lord in ministry or effort, since his or her supposed day of salvation.
     
  10. Iconoclast

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    agedman


    Hello Agedman. This post is helpful to the discussion in a few ways.I think we agree on more than we do not if I understand your caution correctly...I will try and expand on this....
    I would say maturing In Christ is law keeping.....I think Paul says it here...

    7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

    8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

    9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

    Agedman.......Paul is not discussing law as a means of justification here as he does in Galatians......we agree that;
    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.

    So in Romans 13...he is describing how the Love of God is manifested in believers loving God and loving man ...by law keeping.

    We love God by keeping the commandments as SONS...not as servants.
    We are servants...or...better still...WILLING BONDSLAVES.

    He says love is the fulfilling of the love.....

    I have heard it preached--- The law is Loves eyes

    Jesus said this in Jn15
    8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

    9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

    10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

    11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

    12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

    13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

    14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

    15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

    Love is defined by law keeping......How do we love God?

    We have no other gods, we do not take his name in vain, we make no graven image, we keep the Lords day....

    How do we love our neighbor?
    12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

    13 Thou shalt not kill.

    14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

    15 Thou shalt not steal.

    16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

    17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

    Love will not break God's commandments......Jesus was a law keeper.100%







    The decalogue is found in this list I will show it in my next post...bascially the scriptural assurance of our salvation is shown in doing the works of the law.....from A Baptist Catechism with Commentary..pg89-90
    I think i have shown it in romans 13.

    The commandments...are not suggestions...but commandments.
    Jesus was not shackled by law keeping, neither are we.

    When Paul is discussing law as a schoolmaster in gal 3:24 he is speaking there toward the unsaved.....with Christ being the end of The law....for righteousness for any who believe.

    Agedman...you offered several quotes from 1 jn which are fine quotes indeed...but love is not nebulous...it is found within law keeping.



    here is where we are not in agreement.here is what the law is.or was supposed to be in the OT....but is now...in the NT-

    again from A Baptist Catechism with Commentary;


    I will link to another post...part two-
     
    #10 Iconoclast, Nov 7, 2013
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  11. Iconoclast

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    Yes....
    lawlessness is sin....

    I agree...

    .
    That is the summary of the decalogue...love God love your neighbor...you are saying what i am saying...

    .

    OK.....again you are agreeing because if we each ask ourselves...How am I doing with loving others....the law is the standard

    I do not agree......
    36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

    37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

    38 This is the first and great commandment.

    39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

    Agedman...how would you describe this love? what is it? what does it look like?

    I suggest any answer you give will find expression in the 10 commandments...
     
  12. convicted1

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    The good works we do in this life isn't to garner eternal life, but rather, to show each and everyone who crosses our paths who we work for. When we were sinners, we did the works of the devil. Now that God is our Master, we do the works required of His servants and preach/witness to all the lost, to visit the homeless/poor, the sick, give comfort to those who are cast down, etc.

    I read this yesterday evening and I think it'll fit in this thread nicely:

     
  13. Iconoclast

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    yes it fits perfectly
     

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