Righteousness – God’s gift to man? Or, man’s work for God?

Are we righteous because of what we do? Or, do we do what we do because we are righteous?

Are you your father’s son because of the perfomance you put in, or because of your birth?

When Jesus’ friend Lazarus was dead, what did he initiate to come back from the dead?

What does an adoptive child contribute to the completed adoption process?

How can a man who sins on purpose because it is his nature appease a Holy God by himself?

Is salvation an act of God or the acts of God and man?

Grace to you,

12 comments on “Righteousness – God’s gift to man? Or, man’s work for God?

  1. God.

    * We are drawn by God [John 6:44].
    * We are given to Christ by God [John 6:37].
    * We are called, justified, and glorified by God [Romans 8:29-30].
    * We are God’s workmanship [Ephesians 2:10].
    * God works in us to do His pleasure [Philippians 2:13].
    * It is the gift of God by grace through faith, not of man [Ephesians 2:8].


  2. Hi Royce looks like a battle of the scriptures.

    Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; 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.

    Rev 20:13 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.

    Rev 22;12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward [is] with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

    I know the argument raised by some say, that based on 22:12 and the words “shall be” just determines what your job “shall be “ in heaven. I say “shall be” means what shall be written in the book. What shall be at the time, we know what John saw, shall be in the future.
    If anyone can say and backup, that these three verses mean nothing, or something other than what they plainly say. Then I might feel more comfortable leaning back and letting God do all the work. I know folks on earth who are comfortable leaning back and letting others do the work, and yet expecting the same rewards.

  3. Royce,
    Excellent post.
    Excellent questions.
    Oh wait.
    These aren’t true false questions. Um….
    Oh no. Not multiple choice questions either.
    I would have to answer: I am going have to look it up and get back to you. But, I am willing to bet, if I weren’t minister, Christian and could bet, I would bet, the answer would be God.

  4. These scriptures are not ambiguous, they are plainly written.

    Psalm. 33:15 He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.

    Prov 16:3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

    Prov. 24:12 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider [it]? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth [not] he know [it]? and shall [not] he render to [every] man according to his works?

    Mat. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

    Mat. 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.

    Act. 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and [then] to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

    There is no doubt your salvation is in Christ’s hands, but so is your destruction. I just believe your “works” good and bad are a factor in that judgment. “shall reward every man according to his works” Just what does that mean? it is used many times in scripture, so it is evident to me at least, it is not just a statement in passing. It is important to salvation.
    I believe we take the ”grace of God” farther than it was intended to be taken. The gift of grace in my opinion was Jesus Christ, and therefore our salvation through him, he will be the judge, I believe he commands us to do certain things in order to receive the reward of salvation from Christ. I can’t read in the scriptures anything other than you will be judged on your works. “Do works meet for repentance”

  5. Laymond,

    In our rather long discourse of comments I don’t think you have understood very much of what I intended to convey.

    You apparently believe that eternal life, or salvation, is awarded to those have done enough good works to merit it. Your view, if I am describing it accurately, is false and completely unbiblical.

    Man’s great problem, and the condition that seperates Him from God, is SIN, not as you believe, the absense of enough good works.

    Christ became a willing sacrifice, offered for payment for the sins of mankind. Because he had completley fulfilled the law, had no human father and was thus not tainted by sin, his once for all for all time offering was accepted and the sin debt owed by every man was paid in full.

    Based on that work on behalf of the wicked and the resurrection of Christ from the dead (in a body which you also deny) God can now “set right”, or “justify”, or declare “righteous” anyone who is willing to turn away from their sin and trust Christ to give them the free gift of eternal life. Only because of the work of Christ can God justify a sinner and still be just and Holy.

    You believe that Christ came to give a sinner an opportunity to save himself by his own works.

    How anyone can fabricate a belief system that if really believed makes Jesus a liar and a fraud and still claim to be in the “Lord’s church” is beyond my ability to comprehend.

    To deny promises from the very words of Christ himself and to deny His bodily resurrection from the dead is dangerous to say the least.

    Laymond, what you believe is not any different than many sinners I have met over the decades who believe that because they are “good” people, live “good” lives, and believe in God, they will get to go to heaven.

    A lost man is just as sure headed for damnation if he goes to hell from a saloon or a church. My prayer is that you will turn from your own way and trust Christ alone who alone is able to save a sinner from sure destruction.

    Grace to you,

  6. Royce, you said I though that what stood between God and man was “the absence of enough good works.” not sin. I don’t know how you came to the conclusion about what I think. But you are absolutely right when you say that would be wrong, but you are wrong in your assessment of what I believe. I don’t believe there is any set amount of “Good Works” we need to do in order to squeeze in the door, sin is now and will be then what separates the lost from God. Maybe we just don’t see sin in the same way. I see sin as anything man does in defiance, or non compliance to what God told him to do, or not to do. Disobeying God is a sin ! Therefore the works of man will determine whether he sins against God. Just as the works of the first man brought about sin so will the works of man today. I don’t believe you have ever heard me say or seen me write that “Good Works” alone would give you a ticket to heaven. No man is that “Good” none except one. If you read carefully the scripture I recommended, you will find it to say man will be judged on his works, not his good works or his evil works but by “His Works” whether our not he intends to follow Christ or defy God. If we sin without intent we can be forgiven and will be, through Jesus Christ our redeemer. But if we go to our judgment defiant and intending to sin against God, we will be judged on our actions/works, no doubt in my mind.
    Grace is not a new thing that just come about at the sacrifice of Jesus, grace existed long before Jesus was even born of this earth
    Gen. 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
    Gen. 6:14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

    As we see Noah received the grace of God and was told how to be saved from death. God did not tell Noah you have received my grace therefore go on your merry way, I will build you an ark. Now was Noah and his family saved from the flood by grace alone, or by grace and works?

    No doubt we will and can only be saved through the grace of God. But just as Noah was not left out of his own salvation, Neither are we left out of our own. Grace and works saved Noah, Grace and works will save you.

  7. Titus 3:5 “NOT BY WORKS of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”

    Ephesians 2:8-9 “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.”

    Romans 4:1-6 “What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.5 But to him WHO DOES NOT WORK but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness APART FROM WORKS.”

    Laymond, I can’t make it more plain than the Bible does. Your disagreement is with the word of God not with me.

    Noah found grace, not an opportunity to prove he was good enough to be accepted by God. God told him it would rain and that he should build an ark. He believed God and just as Abraham his faith was counted as righteousness. He was saved by simply believing what God promised just as everyone else who has ever been saved has.

    Romans 3:21-30 ” But now the righteousness of God APART from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified FREELY BY HIS GRACE through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, THROUGH FAITH, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the JUSTIFIER OF THE ONE WHO HAS FAITH IN JESUS.
    27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that A MAN IS JUSTIFIED APART FROM THE DEEDS OF THE LAW. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised BY FAITH and the uncircumcised THROUGH FAITH. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.”

    Laymond, I could spend hours explaining the obvious to you again and again and you will refuse to listen to the truth. No matter what you say, you have proven in comments on this blog that you do not trust Christ alone for salvation but you rather trust Christ and your performance.

    One more verse teaching the same truth follows. Romans 5:13-16 “For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, 15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.
    16 THEREFORE IT IS OF FAITH THAT IT MIGHT BE ACCORDING TO GRACE, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.”

    In regard to salvation, the mixture of even the smallest amount of works voids grace completely. The above verses make that clear.

    I close with this warning from Paul to the Galatians. In chapter 1 verse 6 he warns about those who preach “another gospel” and that they should be “accursed”. What is this supposed gospel he calls “another gospel”? You can find the answer in chapter 3 verses 1-9. ” O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
    5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham”.

    The “Zealots” trying like mad to talk every believer to mix works with grace by submitting to circumcision. A little law, a little grace. This is “another gospel” about which Paul says it is not gospel or good news at all. He says later that those who try to be justified by faith and works have “fallen from grace”. Galatians 5:1-6 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.”

    If you plan to be justified in the end by good works (keeping the law) you will be required to keep ALL of it, and you know and I know that is impossible. Just trust Christ alone as Paul instructs again and again the rest in the grace to God toward sinners.

    We as believers are created for good works but we are not created by them.

    Grace to you,
    Royce Ogle

  8. I know Royce you are of the opinion “Once saved, always saved” there is no way to fall from God’s grace. I don’t believe our works deserve God’s grace, I believe God’s grace deserves our works.

    Laymond, On that we can agree. I too believe God’s grace deserves our works. That is a great way to say it.

    I don’t believe in the perseverance of the Saints, I do believe in the perseverence of the Holy Spirit.

    Grace to you,

  9. Laymond,

    A few things to consider could be:

    1. The judgment you post in Revelation 20 is for the lost person, whereas the judgment for the saved is the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5).

    2. What do you think of the works being burned up, but the soul being saved here?

    1 Corinthians 3:12-15, “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

    Paul starts the chapter talking to “brethren”, so this is either talking about saved people will still be saved even if all of their works are burned up, or one believes in universalism, whereby everyone will ultimately be saved (which isn’t Scriptural).


  10. I heard a preacher say yesterday that the biggest lie of Satan is telling Christians that they need to work for what they already have (salvation) and furthermore that they must work to become who they already are (Joint heirs with Christ).

    I think that sums up the deception pretty well…

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