Lesson 15 (c)
Part1: What are “Works?”
Lesson 15 (a) demonstrated that the English word “Law” can mean two very different things, as seen in the definition of the Greek word from which it was translated. “Law” therefore might be referring to “the Scriptures” or it might be referring to the “traditions of men.” By the end of Lesson 15 (b) we had seen the stark contrasts between these two elements. “Works” also can mean two very different things. In this Lesson 15(c) we’ll point out what they are and how they are referenced to both meanings of the “Law.”
“Works” mean “acts or deeds,” according to the Strong’s Greek word No. 2041 from which it is consistently translated. Works are what we do, our accomplishments, our walk. Where we go & what we do reflect our employment, who we work for, or who our Master is, the one who is our “covering.”
Our coverings or garments are what others see when they look at us. In the big picture, we can only have one of two Masters. What we do demonstrates who we serve in our hearts. Where our heart is, there is our focus.
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. [self]”1
Luke 16:13 New Living Translation
Our works are either to serve Him or to serve us. His ways or our ways. Who do we love more? It is evident by the kind of fruit on the tree what kind of tree it is. Our works are the fruit from our hearts. They reflect who we serve. Where we devote our resources shows which Master our hearts love most. Since there are only two masters, there are only two types of works.
What we see here is the contrast between two natures, the heavenly, spiritual nature of the Last Adam (Yahshua), compared to the fallen, corrupt, self-centered nature of the earthly First Adam man, whose body is flesh. Let’s take a look at the specifics of each type of works.
1 ([Bracketed words] are mine, inserted to clarify the context or to emphasize a point.) The Greek word for “money” means “avarice.” In other words, “covetousness,” being self-centered.
Part 2: The Works of the Spirit
Looking at Galatians 5:22-24, we find the first nine of the 12-works (fruit) of the Spirit: 2
The Passion Translation has a revealing footnote that LOVE is the fruit of the Spirit. The other fruit is various expressions of that overriding quality of LOVE. 3 Love is indeed the summation of the nature of God.
“Continue to love one another, for love comes from God.
Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
But anyone who does not love does not know God,
For GOD IS LOVE.”
1 John 4:7-8 New Living Translation
And when we examine God’s definition of “love” in 1 Corinthians 13, we see a description that matches this list above. Both are the nature of God, which is our nature when we walk in His Spirit. These are our works when His nature reigns in us.
2 For the last three, see our Study, “Things Are Not As We Were Taught – Part 2, Item 11, Page 9.”
The list above is the summary from my review of about 8-different translations that are based on the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts. They each were helpful for us to see the big picture.
3 “God is Love” is grossly misrepresented by English translations that are rooted in the Latin Vulgate, which Jerome wrote for the Catholic Church. For example, his Latin translation emphasized the new doctrine of eternal hellfire, along with salvation needing to be earned. These errors were made intentionally by the Church system in order to generate fear, control, and get rich through indulgences and payments for sin.
This doctrine, however, is not supported by the most reliable Hebrew manuscripts. It was not acknowledged by the early church fathers. Yet, it persists today since most English translations and versions carry the error of this myth along.
I won’t expound on this here, since there are many great studies by others already, such as “Hope for All” by Gerry Beauchemin, and writings by Gary Amirault, Elwin Roach, and J. Preston Eby, among others. Be warned, since religious groups will seek to steer you away from these excellent Bible scholars, who point out the mistranslations.
Part 3: The Works of The Flesh
If however, we do not hunger for Him who is both truth and love, then, our old fallen Adamic nature is “the natural thing to do.” 4 Our thoughts, words, and actions reveal our true identity. Here is what it looks like, as listed in Galatians 5:19-20.
Yes, it’s a pretty messy picture. This nest-bed of demonic darkness brings chaos, confusion, and clutter to the soul, and things around it. It is often masked by an outward look of being friendly, pleasant, religious, convincing, and nice. Yahshua, (Jesus), however, could see right through it and likened such a masquerade to a tomb that is beautiful on the outside but filled with death.
These fruits are labeled as works of the “flesh” because the fallen nature of Adam has the desires of the (flesh) body ruling the soul. The flesh body is made from the earth, so this is what it means (Philippians 3:19), by, “They mind earthly things.” In contrast to this, in God’s divine order, we find the soul submitted to His Spirit and thereby having His power to rule over the impulses of the body.
4 Biblically expressed as “…every man did that which seemed right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25 in the Lamsa Translation). Today we would say it as “did their our own thing,” or “he did it his way.”
Part 4: Spirit vs. Flesh
Here is the summary comparison of the two types of works:
What we see above is a snapshot of the 2-natures; the nature of the Messiah (Spirit) vs. the nature of fallen man, (Flesh). The nature of the Spirit is described in many different ways in the Word. The works of the Spirit reflect the 12-fruit/12-faceted expression of our Messiah’s character. Note below the close identity of His Sons with The Son, since in maturity He lives and dwells in us and through us. Here are some symbols of the “12-works”:
- The Tree of Life with its 12-fruit, (see the study, “Things are Not as We Were Taught – Part 2”).
- The Breastplate of Righteousness with it’s 12-stones over our High Priest’s heart each representing one of the 12-Sons (expressions) of Israel, who represent His Nation of First-born Sons (of 12-Tribes), just like the Son.
- The Bride.
- The New Jerusalem, with its 12-gates, pearls of entry, and its 12-Foundation Stones on which it is based, along with the Cornerstone.
- The 12-Apostles filled with His Spirit, who followed the Lamb.
- The 12-Baskets of broken pieces of Bread to feed all.
- The 12-Rods that represent the Authority of the Throne, and so on.
The important contrast between the two types of works is pointed out in several places where the works of the flesh nature are described. Here are some samples:
“Be aware that in the final days the culture of society will become extremely fierce. People will be self-centered lovers of themselves and obsessed with money. They will boast of great things as they strut around in their arrogant pride and mock all that is right. They will ignore their own families. They will be ungrateful and ungodly.
They will become addicted to hateful and malicious slander. Slaves to their desires, they will be ferocious, belligerent haters of what is good and right. With brutal treachery, they will act without restraint, bigoted, and wrapped in clouds of their conceit. They will find their delight in the pleasures of this world more than the pleasures of the loving God. They may pretend to have a respect for God, but in reality, they want nothing to do with God’s power. Stay away from people like these!”
2 Timothy 1-5 The Passion Translation
Though they pretend to be godly, their works, the fruit of their hearts, give them away. Those who walk in the works of the flesh are enemies of believers.
“Join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you…that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, [ flesh nature]
and whose glory is in their shame–who set their mind on earthly things.”
Philippians 3:17-19 The New King James Version
So where are the scriptures that refer to the “works of the Spirit”? Here are a few of them. These are just the samples from James 2 in the New King James Version:
“17. Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
“18. I will show you my faith by my works.”
“20. Do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?”
“22. Do you see that faith was working together with his [Abraham’s] works, and by works, faith was made perfect?”
“24. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”
“26. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
Hebrews 11 describes people of faith along with their particular works of righteousness as led by His Spirit. How do faith and works fit together? Their works were the by-product of their faith!
Their works were evidence that they had the faith to obey what they heard. Their faith was in the grace of God to bring life. Here are just a few of the people of faith mentioned:
Part 5: Harmonizing the Law, Works, & Salvation
So, how do the two types of works fit into the two types of Law? First, we note in the diagram below that the works of man 5 apart from God can be either “good” or “bad.” 6
Some believe that these bad deeds of Adamic man can prevent one from receiving salvation. Such a doctrine is false because it doesn’t fit with all of the scriptures. This erroneous idea may stem from taking a few verses out of context, or from the hardness of heart, traditions of men, or a “religious spirit.”
Yahshua (Jesus), came to seek those who were lost (everybody descended from Adam). The lost can only be saved from their old fallen nature by His blood atonement on the cross. 7 Works do not disqualify us for salvation! Neither can we do any works to earn salvation! And this applies to both types of works…in both types of the Law.
“For BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED THROUGH FAITH, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, NOT OF WORKS, lest anyone should boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 New King James Version
5 In our Lessons, the word “man” typically represents “mankind,” as we see in most English translations.
6 This concept has been seen throughout our Lessons, starting with Lesson 1 and summarized on the cover of Lesson 8, “The Incorruptible Seed Within.” The basis is the 2-trees in the midst of the Garden.
7 However, receiving His blood atonement is only the beginning of our walk with Yah (God). Much like signing a marriage certificate is only the beginning of a new marriage-covenant relationship. We don’t get married then leave our new spouse to go back to our old way of living alone! For more on salvation being a process toward oneness and maturity in Him, see Lesson 6, “The Three Days Journey,” and also Lesson 7, “The Eight Milestones to Maturity.”
Now let’s look at works related to salvation regarding the traditions-of-men.
Just as our bad deeds don’t disqualify us for salvation, neither do our good works earn us salvation. We cannot do works well enough or enough of them to earn salvation. This was the whole point that Martin Luther presented from the Word. We are justified by our faith and not by our works.
“But people are declared righteous because of their faith, NOT BECAUSE OF THEIR WORK.”
Romans 4:5 New Living Translation
“My righteous ones will live from my faith. But if fear holds them back, my soul is not content with them!”8
Hebrews 10:38 The Passion Translation
“For BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED THROUGH FAITH, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, NOT OF WORKS, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS FOR GOOD WORKS, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 New King James Version
8 This is the favorite passage in the King James Version, “the just shall live by faith.” It is repeated in Romans 1:17, & Galatians 3:11, all of which are quoting Habakkuk 2:4. Note that true faith stirs one into action where His life works through them. This process births a new nature.
Our works cannot save us. These verses show the place of “good works” as a by-product of walking in our calling. This is what we were created to have, Yahshua, (Jesus), reigning in, and through us. This diagram completes the last one:
What this means is that no one can be saved by keeping the Law, no matter which type of “the Law” is referenced in the Word! We also notice that we were each uniquely created as His workmanship, to do certain works that are “good” in God’s eyes. We also must be careful to note that though neither type of works can save us, this does not do away with the Scriptures or with the value of works of the Spirit!
As we are transformed into His nature, then the Scriptures (His ways/instructions/teachings/Torah), become seen in us. How? By the evidence of the fruit/works of His Life in us. This means that it would be Him-in-us doing those works.
Each of us must have His Spirit to rule in us, then, through us. Then, His likeness shines like a Light, but more than just that. It is Him in us who is the hope of glory for us, and also through us to all of creation.
These works through us will be directed and empowered by Him to set creation free, to restore creation. All creation is groaning, crying out, “Where are the Sons who will help us?” This mystery of Him in us is one that we are beginning to understand more clearly on this day.
“THE MYSTERY which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them, God willed to make known what are the riches of this mystery which is CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY [for us & creation]. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving ACCORDING TO HIS WORKING WHICH WORKS IN ME…”
Colossians 1:26-29 New King James Version
How do these “works” of His that work in us grow to be seen as His works, (fruit)? Well, we mature as the result of letting His Spirit guide, teach, and empower us to live out His Torah until it is etched in our hearts and minds. To be guided into truth is a pretty general phrase, so what are the specifics?
The particulars are to steer us to grow up into Him, to increase in the mind of Yahshua, to come into maturity in Him, to come into His likeness. To come into His likeness means to come into His nature, His character. This mandates a choice.
The old nature must be abandoned. We have a vital part in this process by grace through faith. By His Spirit, we follow His leading, which causes the old nature to diminish, to weaken, to be crucified.
“My old identity has been co-crucified with Messiah and no longer lives; for the nails of his cross crucified me with him. And now the essence of this new life is no longer mine, for the ANOINTED ONE LIVES HIS LIFE THROUGH ME–WE LIVE IN UNION AS ONE! My new life is empowered by the faith of the Son of God who loves me so much that he gave himself for me, and dispenses his life into mine!”
Galatians 2:20 The Passion Translation
Our transformation of nature is clearly His Work, not ours. Our part is to hear, submit, and obey by grace through faith, as did all of the people of faith in Hebrews 11. This salvation becomes more evident as His nature dominates our old nature.
At this point, what is seen is His fruit in us and expressed externally. These are His works of righteousness, working in and through us. We do not attempt to do works for salvation, but we do cooperate more aggressively as we mature, according to His Word, to strip ourselves of our old nature, and to be clothed with His new nature.
This exhortation is commanded to us in different ways. We wash our hands (our works get cleaned up/changed), to now express the works/fruit of His life. We repent, we discern, we choose life, we embrace His Spirit and Word, (Torah). We move to become truth-seekers and truth-speakers.
We strip off our old garments and don His wedding garments (Colossians 3:1-11). This represents a transfer of natures into His likeness. This conversion is evidenced by a change of mind, heart, deeds, works, and fruit. We shift into His authority. We become one with Him.
He gives us the “Promised Land” of His nature within, then tells us to possess it. All we have to do is kill the “giants” of our land that seek to keep us from our inheritance. We do this by grace through faith. So, we fight, but not by the arm of the flesh, but by His Spirit.
Through this undertaking, we learn to be overcomers like Joshua and Caleb. We learn to rule with a rod of iron in righteousness, in His nature. We go on the offensive, no longer tolerant of our old nature.
We hear a calling to no longer be passive. We rule mercilessly against the demonic forces that rule the old nature, both within and without. We are not being merciful and loving to the captives until we first deal with the cruel captors. This change in us is noticed by others. It is seen by what was said of Joseph and Daniel by pagans, “In him dwells the Spirit of the living God.”
Part 6: Summary
Here are the basic concepts to take away from this Lesson:
- There are 2-types of works, the works of the Spirit and the works of the Flesh. The 2-types of works are contrary to each other because they are the result of 2-conflicting types of nature.
- We are not saved by works of the Flesh, not by their good works nor their bad ones.
- We are not saved by keeping the traditions of men. Trying to do so would be “legalism.” 9
- We are also not saved by works of the Spirit so we are not saved by keeping the Scriptures, nor by obeying Torah. Trying to do so would be “legalism.”
- We are saved from our old natures and resulting deaths by grace through faith.
- Genuine faith is evidenced by the works of the Spirit as a by-product of faith.
- Our love for Him springs forth as an expression of the works of His nature.
A vital point to grasp that covers all aspects of “the Law” is that we cannot be saved by “the Law,” no matter which meaning it represents. We are saved by grace through faith, and that is not of us, but of Him. His life will emanate through us as good works (nature/fruit), which He has ordained and destined to manifest through each of us uniquely!
We will use the Bible concepts taught in Lessons 15 (a), (b), and this one, (c) in yet one more Lesson. Lesson 15 (d) should wrap up the Law. It will be a fun examination of all those misleading verses that seem to contradict other verses and that have caused so much division among believers.
This message may be copied and distributed in print or electronically when not for sale or profit. As with any sections of copied material, it is helpful for readers when the web-source is acknowledged. In this case, bibleconcepts.com.
Eric & Mary Ellis
PO Box 400
Easton, ME 04740
9 On page 1754, in the excellent glossary of “The One New Man Bible,” (11th printing, 2020), William Morford explains “legalism.” He points out that legalism is man’s way of defining Scripture, warning it can become the priority instead of the Scriptures. He alerts us that we are to keep our focus on God, not on our own rules. He also defines “legalism” as the opposite of giving control to the Holy Spirit.
I heartily agree! It is so much easier when in the old nature to yield control of our lives to a religious leader who just tells us what to do. A Biblical example is when Israel told Moses to draw close to God, then just tell them what to do. Avoiding a personal walk with God is an effort to stay in charge, rather than take up our cross and follow the Lamb to enter into a unity of a marriage relationship with Him.