WFW: What does Christ Say About our Works?

Titus 1: 15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
Today, we continue our study on good works -- that is, the works that are "done in God." I would like to accomplish this by looking at John chapter 15. Here, Jesus is talking to His disciples shortly before His death. This chapter speaks of much of what we've already covered in previous WFW studies, but it also sheds some more light on what these "good works" are that we should be accomplishing.

John 15

1 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

Upon closer examination, it becomes clear that this verse is speaking of the chastening of the Lord, since the word purge (KJV) means "to cleanse, i.e. (specially) to prune; figuratively, to expiate:--purge." The word, "Expiate" means "atone for wrongdoing: to make amends, show remorse, or suffer punishment for wrongdoing." Remember, Pr 3:12, "For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights." God chastens us when we are doing wrong, to help us get back on the right path, so that our trees can produce beautiful fruit (see Heb 12), and that is the point of what we've been saying so far: God wants us to bear good fruit by doing His works, so when we are going the wrong way, He makes sure to let us know. Luke 6:43-45 comes to mind:
43For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 "For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
John 15 continues:
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
The Cross references for this verse shed some light on what works we should be doing...
Col 1: 21-23 -- 21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your MIND by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight-- 23 if indeed you CONTINUE IN THE FAITH, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. 1 John 2:6 -- He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Also remember, Titus 2: 11 :
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
...and Deut 26:18 :
Also today the LORD has proclaimed you to be His special people, just as He promised you, that you should keep all His commandments...
Verse 9 of John 15, which we'll examine in a moment, sheds further light on what it means to keep His commandments. But first,
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Cross refs:

Phil 1: 10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; 11 Being filled with the FRUITS of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

I am always reminded of Matt 19:26 whenever I think of that last Scripture: "But with God all things are possible." In other words, you can't bear fruit without Christ's help; we can't do it on our own. Also notice, that Philippians mentions "the fruits of righteousness." With Christ, we can produce the "fruits of righteousness."
John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
(See WFW August 12 and August 19 where we talk about this a little more in depth.) John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 ¶ As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. This is why Abraham was called the friend of God -- because He did what God commanded him to do; as we mentioned earlier, He believed God enough to go out and act on His faith, and that was his "good works, done in God." Throughout the above verses in chapter 15, you can see that Jesus is talking about loving Him and others and keeping His commandments. These would be two of the good works which Jesus speaks about the most often. So how do we do that? Well, here are some Scriptures which can help us to understand this better:

Eph 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

1 John 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 14 ¶ And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Quick mention here: It is noteworthy that this is James speaking -- the very one whom people claim is saying that works justify you before men. However, we can see from this passage that James said to be "doers of the Word." In other words, that is the works which he has been speaking of all along! Also, he mentions the "implanted Word." This is just what we've been talking about: it is the Word which is planted deep down inside of you, which you cultivated by doing it! Now to continue --

Heb 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from DEAD WORKS to serve the living God?

Eph 5:3 ¶ But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. WALK AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

Question: "Finding out what is acceptable" to whom? To the Lord! When we obey God, in everything that He says (not picking and choosing what sounds good to us), we will continue to grow in God, our faith will continue to grow. As we read God's Word, we will learn to know His voice, and then, whether or not something sounds good to us, we will do it, because we have put our trust, our faith in Him; we are listening to His voice and following in His footsteps. Because, ultimately, it's not about us, it's about Him. So, how can you do the work of God today?
I've only skimmed the surface of what these good works are (I plan to expand on this subject more in the future), but I hope that everyone reading will continue to search the Scriptures and obey what God says to obey and avoid what He says to avoid. I'd like to end with 1 Peter 1:5, because the context of this Scripture makes it perfectly clear (if you study it out), that what knowledge we gain from the Word of God we are to apply to our lives -- "add to your faith..." That is how you cause your faith to grow:
5 ¶ But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble...


  1. What a beautiful compilation of the scriptures on that subject, Miss Szymanski! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  2. What a great post! I think this is a marvelous lesson-- we as Christians really do need to realize and understand God's discipline. It's perhaps the second principle a new Christian should learn: the first is "hey, dude, God loves you and sent His Son and He's made everything right," and secondly, "Hey dude your flesh stinks and if you really love God and want to be useful, let Him straighten you out. Oh, and by the way, much of the time, it's not going to feel so good."


    Seriously, I wish I had learned this lesson earlier. It would have spared me a lot of pain! But, eh, live and learn. ;)

    GREAT post!!!

  3. This is a whole Bible study, Miss S - and a good one at that!

    Thanks for posting.

  4. Thanks, everyone, for your comments.

    theotheralice - Thanks, and welcome to the Word for Wednesday!

    Mrs. Mecomber - I've been studying that topic recently, and what you said is a good summary of what I found. I believe that God disciplines us so that He can heal our hearts, and, as it says in Hebrews 12, "make our paths straight." I think that's what Job meant when he said, "For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole" (Job 5:18)

    akagaga - Thanks! I know, it did turn out into quite a Bible study, didn't it? ;) I thought the Scriptures really explained themselves about loving God and keeping His commandments, so I didn't bother elaborating on them.

    Glad you all enjoyed!


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