Bible study about works

Bible study about works

Works of the Spirit, of the flesh, of the body, of God … What do these all mean?

Works of the law—works of faith

Works of the law come forth when I, in my flesh, want to please God by my deeds. Works of faith are done when I am completely helpless and then commit myself to do only what God prompts me to do. The law has nothing to do with faith. Neither do the works of the Spirit have anything to do with the works of the flesh. The righteousness of faith bears fruit and gives hope. And by faith we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness (Galatians 5:5). Abraham was justified by works after he was justified without works. The first time we come to God, we have only sin to offer Him. He receives us as we are and justifies us without works (Romans 3:28). But once we have been justified, God requires obedience—the obedience of faith. This bears fruit unto sanctification.

Now, by the body of Christ, we are freed from the law, but we are by no means freed from the laws of the Spirit or the laws of faith. When we have crucified our flesh, we are freed from the law. But where the flesh is not crucified, we are by no means free. Today when people speak of liberation, they generally mean liberation without the flesh being crucified. They say we are freed from the law. But if you call the law of faith and the law of the Spirit “bondage,” you are actually free in the flesh so you can serve Satan and the flesh to your heart’s content.

Obedience—freed from the law

But we have not so learned Christ. He died for our sins so that we might depart from them. He who sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24.). There is a reason for this; God never does anything without a reason. God demands obedience of His creation. The Son was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. We do not get off any cheaper. And if anyone insists on having it easier, he will damage his soul. Ignorance is limitless among Christians, and it comes exclusively because true understanding—God’s light—can only be obtained by doing the will of God. And God’s will brings death to our self-life. That is why there are so few who gather in the places where obedience to the faith is preached. But the substance and content of our life of faith will be so much greater—if we do what we hear.

If we have died with Christ, we are freed from the law. There are two types of death with Christ. The one is death to the law by the body of Christ (Romans 7:4). The other death is a death in the body of Christ by walking in obedience to the faith and in the fellowship of His sufferings so that we are conformed to His death (Philippians 3:10). The first death is death to sinful works, and the second death is death to sin in our flesh—indwelling sin.

What a great work God has done in Christ! And we can acquire this by obedience to the faith. We can have complete victory over sin! It was for the sake of sin that God sent His Son as an atonement and a grain offering [Norw.: a food offering]. The death of His Son for the sins we have committed is the atonement, and to do the will of God, in spite of sin in the flesh, is the grain offering. For “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent Me.” The same food is reckoned to us when we eat His flesh and drink His blood.

The harlot’s great sin is that she teaches people for whom Christ died that they shall do nothing because Jesus has done it all. For her, all obedience is bondage. Thus she binds the souls and corrupts the whole world, because no one can have any growth in Christ without obedience and faith. Souls march headlong into this apostasy as soon as they have had their sins forgiven. People who have received the baptism of the Spirit are also received with open arms by the harlot, who strongly warns them against obedience to the faith. She calls it bondage to the law.

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Many types of works

When God is permitted to work in us to will and to do, then we do the works of God. When the flesh is permitted to work in us to will and to do, then we do the works of the flesh. But when we do what we do not really want to do, things that go against our better mind, then we are doing the deeds of the body, which must be put to death by the Spirit. If we as natural people do good works to satisfy our conscience, they will be dead works, because only the works of God done in Jesus Christ are accepted by God. Therefore only works done in the body of Christ are accepted by God. These are deeds brought forth through the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

The law of the Spirit of life makes us alive and makes us free from the law of sin and death. It is activated by obedience to the faith. No other law can give life (Galatians 3:21); no other law can justify us. But when we are obedient to the second Adam, we are made alive; that is the very goal of Christianity.

This article has been translated from Norwegian and was first published with the title “Gjerninger”(“Works”) in the periodical Skjulte Skatter (Hidden Treasures) in September 1934
© Copyright Stiftelsen Skjulte Skatters Forlag | ActiveChristianity

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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.