WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? (James 2:20 KJV)
How many religious people in the world are working as hard as they can, being sinners, trying to please God. They read their Bibles, say their prayers, go to church three times each week, and do all the usual things that every Christian does. When there is a sickness in a home, they take food; when there is one who lost their home to fire, they send a love offering. There is not a nick in their character, and this has been their way for as long as they can remember, as it was with their parents and all their friends down at the church. They base their dedication on the scripture quoted above, having faith and working in a righteous manner to relieve the hurts of others, for surely this kind of work is righteous in God’s eyes and in the eyes of all who observe the work.
It is truly unfortunate that folks don’t realize that there is no life in works of righteousness. Why? Because the unsaved cannot please God with any of their “righteous” works designed to “please” Him. A truly righteous work is done by Christ in us, and is a work that causes sacrifice, a work that brings ridicule, and a work that separates. His work brings new life into all who work for His glory; a life of dying, and yet living; of giving all, yet having enough; of asking His help. and it given at the asking. His work is not intended to be righteous, but loving.
“Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth. But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:11-15 KJV)
Notice here that there are those who seek occasion to glory. What Paul does is to stop them from stealing glory for themselves, and he sees them as self-made “angels of light”. Those working for such false apostles are transformed by the enemy of Christ into “ministers of righteousness”, and their end will be in keeping with their deceitful works.
As the Apostle Paul worked the true work of God in Christ, Jesus, he was spent and unloved, yet he continued to give of himself as His master did, unto death. This is the work that must go with faith for life to be manifested, for out of death comes life. Jesus said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:25 KJV). Paul was specific in a description of his situation of sacrifice, “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” (2 Corinthians 12:15 KJV) Righteous work has its own reward in whatever glory is derived from it here and now. The true riches of the works of faith are not looked for here, but are attributed to our Lord and savior to whom all glory is due. 2/9/02