Work is defined as
· something that originates with man;
· a meritorious, value-laden, thing done;
· something done by one’s own capabilities;
· done to receive payment.
Doing works do not save us, as we see in Matthew 7:22-23,
22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
The point of faith is to look away from oneself and look to the one in whom the faith is placed. The merit is in the one in whom the faith is placed, not in the faith itself, nor in oneself.
In contrast to works,
· Faith renounces merit;
· Faith is not done to receive payment
· Faith is not done by my own capabilities, since faith is from God.
This is what Jesus said about work in John 6:28-29
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
So we see faith is not a work. In fact, we see this in Romans 4:1-3,
1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Just as Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness, so it is with us.
However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
Yet, even though Abraham had faith, this faith engendered works.
21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.
It was by faith we were saved through faith as a GIFT from God – NOT as a result of works, which is what were created to do.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
In fact, Philippians 2:13 tells us,
13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
So even our faith and our desire and efforts on God’s behalf are because God works within us to desire and work for His pleasure.
But working for God’s pleasure because of our faith will not go unrewarded.
1 Corinthians 3:8
The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
So works should be evidence of our faith, for without faith, we cannot please God.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
If I ever obey God,
· God produced within me the desire to obey;
· God gave me the ability to obey;
· God did the work in me;
· God gave me the result;
· God rewards me for it.