Works...Are They Important?


1. Introduction

Work involves will-power, knowledge, planning, action, results, products, fruit. But, sad to say, the words 'work' and 'works' have become suspect in Christian circles these days. Many followers of YAHUSHUA believe that 'works' are unimportant. To them it's not work that matters but faith - and faith alone! When I speak of the importance of 'works' to them a cry goes up. 'You're preaching salvation by works. You're doing away with the finished work of YAHUSHUA the Messiah. You're preaching heresy. Didn't you know that believers are saved by faith - not works?'


Sure I knew - 32 years ago, when I decided to yield my life to the Savior; when I personally accepted YaHuWaH 's offer of salvation through His Son YAHUSHUA. Oh yes, I knew that faith was vital. But my question remains: Are works important? And is it heresy to preach the importance of doing good works? Today we are going to find out. In this study I will quote many verses to show you that a person's 'works' are important, more important than most Christians remotely imagine.



2. Works of the Flesh

To begin with let me be clear as to what I mean when I use the word 'works.' I'm certainly not talking about a person's employment or job. Neither do I mean:


  • Works of Penance: Punishing one's body, incorrectly supposing that this will please YaHuWaH and somehow win His favor.
  • Endeavoring to Purchase Forgiveness for one's own or another's sins by constantly paying out sums of money to the church.
  • Endlessly turning the Rosary: a string of some 55 or 165 beads, each supposedly representing a prayer.

Oh no! when I use the word works, I most certainly do not mean these practices, which, sad to say, have been adopted from paganism by the fallen Church. Trying to earn or pay for salvation by these futile 'works' is totally against all Bible teaching.


In this article I use the word 'works' as it is used in the Scriptures. Here we find that Works fall into two categories:


  • The Works of the flesh.
  • The Works of the spirit.

No doubt each group may be sub-divided, but for the purpose of this study I'll confine myself to these two headings: the 'works of the flesh' and the 'works of the spirit.'


3. Works (Fruit) of the Spirit

The 'works of the Spirit' are defined in the very next verse. Notice that they are called here the 'fruit of the Spirit.' Remember our opening definition about works being: labor, deeds, actions, outcomes, products, fruit.


4. Justification


The Bible teaches that a believer is justified by FAITH in YAHUSHUA the Messiah
: but it also says that one's faith must be alive - else it is useless. What is living faith? The Scriptures teach that living faith is faith that is reflected in good works, obedience! If obedience is absent in a believer's life, (assuming that he/she has time to practice obedience) then all his/her professions of faith are meaningless. In other words a believer is justified by living faith which is reflected in good works, obedience to YaHuWaH !

James 2: 14: What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

The implied answer to this question is: No faith alone cannot save him.

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 YaHuWaH ; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20: But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21: Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22: Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23: And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed YaHuWaH, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of YaHuWaH.
24: Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25: Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26: For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

James is saying that to be effective, faith must demonstrate itself in works. If good works are not present, then the so-called 'faith' is in reality - 'dead faith.' And dead faith will certainly not get anyone anywhere; least of all into the Kingdom of Heaven. In other words, a believer is justified by 'living faith' in YAHUSHUA.


5. Advice Concerning Works

There are literally scores of Bible verses exhorting believers to do good works. In fact, YaHuWaH 's objective when sending His Son to Earth was that we should be saved from sin to live righteous lives. Therefore to suggest that good works are unimportant is a sign of colossal ignorance, of spiritual blindness. It is an argument only used by the workers of iniquity: those who do not want to obey YaHuWaH 's commandments and whose lives are a contradiction of the faith they profess.


Bad Workers Beware

Matthew 7: 21: Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in Heaven.
22: Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy Name? and in Thy Name have cast out devils? and in Thy Name done many wonderful works?
23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.


6. The Savior Knows the Works of Every Soul

Are works important? works are very important. Good or bad they are being recorded on the spiritual data files above: media infinitely more sophisticated than computer disks. Multiplied billions of facts are being written to those heavenly files every millisecond. Let us never forget that fact!


Hearken to the Savior's warnings to the seven churches and all mankind in the following verses.



Are works important?
Of course they are important. If works weren't important, why did the Master mention them so often in his letters to the seven churches? I can tell you, that your works (the fruit, outcome, actions, your deeds) are the best - perhaps the only - indicators that you are a true believer. If you don't have accompanying good works (obedience) you don't have faith. We could even say that:


  • Professions of faith: "Lord, Lord"
  • Miracles, Wonders
  • Prophecies
  • Long fasts, Endless prayers
  • Church Attendance
  • Songs of Praise
  • Shouts of Hallelujah!

All these things, important as they are, count for nothing if obedience, good works and fruit are missing. Remember the Master's sobering words:


Ephesus
Revelation 2: 2: I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.
Revelation 2: 5: Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Smyrna
Revelation 2: 9: I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
Pergamos
Revelation 2: 13: I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast My Name, and hast not denied My faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

Thyatira
Revelation 2: 19: I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

Revelation 2: 23: 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.
Sardis
Revelation 3: 1: And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith He that hath the seven Spirits of YaHuWaH, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
2: Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before YaHuWaH.


Philadelphia
Revelation 3: 8: I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My Name.
Laodicea
Revelation 3: 15: I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
All Believers
Revelation 14: 13: 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 labors; and their works do follow them.

Babylon the Great
Revelation 18: 6: Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.
Matthew 7: 22: Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy Name? and in Thy Name have cast out devils? and in Thy Name done many wonderful works?
23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:
depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.

The prophet Samuel said the same thing to king Saul, who had violated YaHuWaH 's commandments:

1 Samuel 15: 22: And Samuel said Hath YaHuWaH as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of YaHuWaH ? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.


7. The Great Day of Judgment

Now back to the question: Are works important? Sure they are. No Christian is going to say that the 'fruit of the Spirit' is unimportant. But few realize that the word 'works' is synonymous with 'fruit.' Both words mean - the outcome, the end product. I have provided many texts to prove that the Almighty closely considers people's works, their behavior, their actions, their fruit. He takes note of what we do. Every motive, every thought, every word, every action is recorded in the divine registers above. The Bible teaches that on the Day of Judgment, everyone will be judged according to their works - their fruit.

Matthew 12: 36: But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
Jeremiah 25: 14:... and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands.
Matthew 16: 27: For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.
Revelation 2: 23: And I (YAHUSHUA the Messiah speaking) 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 20: 12: And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before YaHuWaH ; 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.
13: 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.

Summary


Let me summarize what you have just read: for we are here dealing with one of the most important subjects in the entire Bible.


  1. Are works important? Millions of Christians answer: 'No, works are not important. Perhaps they are confusing 'works' with 'penance,' 'rosary beads,' 'prayers for the dead' etc. The Bible doesn't mean these things when it tells of works. It means faith which is reflected in obedience to the Almighty's commandments. Strange as it may sound, in the opinion of these believers, anyone who teaches obedience and the necessity of doing good deeds, (good works) is preaching 'salvation by works' - preaching heresy! This is a popular viewpoint. But is it right?
  2. The answer is, no it isn't right: it's dangerously wrong. For we find, when we study the Scriptures, that works are very important.
  3. Instead we are to do good works which also express themselves in the fruit of the Holy Spirit: (love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance) The Master said in his sermon on the mount: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)
  4. Believers are justified by faith: but to be of value their faith must be alive. It must exhibit itself in obedience and good works. If these are not present, then their worship is vain and futile. If they continue in sin (disobedience) all their professions of faith ("Lord, Lord!") and all their miracles and wonders will count for nothing. They will be kept out of the Kingdom of Heaven on the Master's orders.
    "Depart from Me ye workers of iniquity."
  5. Scores of Bible texts advise us believers to do good works. Indeed that is why YAHUSHUA the Messiah died for us.
  6. The Savior knows our works, better than we remotely imagine. He is extremely interested in the performance of every member of His church. He knows our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, pressures and persecutions. He knows everything about us all; and He will judge us on the basis of that knowledge. These are sobering thoughts; which we do well to keep in mind.
  7. The great Day of Judgment approaches: when every person on Earth will be judged according to his/her works.
  8. Matthew 16: 27: For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.
    Revelation 20: 12: And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before YaHuWaH ; 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.

Works ... are they important? You can be sure they are. Very Important!

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