Good Works Or Bad Works, Both Are Dead Works!
By David J. Stewart | September 2014 | Updated October 2015
Hebrews 6:1, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ,
let us go on unto perfection;
not laying again the foundation of repentance from DEAD WORKS, and of faith toward God.”
There are three types of works: evil (or bad) works, good works and dead works, but they are all works! Works all involve human effort! You can corrupt the Gospel easily by requiring any type of works to be saved. It is a false plan of salvation to require doing good works to be saved. It is also a false plan of salvation to require ceasing from sinful bad habits (works) to be saved. The Bible calls these all DEAD WORKS!
Here are several ways that the Gospel is being corrupted in churches today:
- Require good works to be saved (Roman Catholics, Mormons and Seventh-Day Adventists teach this)
- Teach that salvation is by grace through faith, but good works are also necessary (Jehovah's Witness teach this)
- Require a commitment to cease from bad works prior to faith to be saved (Jack Chick teaches this)
- Require a commitment prior to faith, to cease from bad works after saved (David Cloud teaches this)
- Teach that a person's faith in Christ is not valid until good works are performed (Chip Ingram and William Lane Craig teach this)
- Require a person to stop bad works to be saved (Billy Graham, Ray Comfort, Aiden Tozer and John MacArthur teach this)
There is some overlap in my preceding list. For example: Seventh-day Adventists also teach Lordship Salvation, so they would fall under both categories 1 and 6 above. The point is that they all reject “the simplicity that is in Christ” taught in 2nd Corinthians 11:3-4. The “simplicity that is in Christ” is that you simply BELIEVE the Gospel to be saved. The “Gospel” is three things: Christ DIED on the cross for our sins, He was BURIED, and He physically RESURRECTED three days later (1st Corinthians 15:1-6). That's “The Good News,” which is what “The Gospel” means.
You must realize that you are a guilty sinner in God's holy eyes (Romans 3:19). We all deserve to burn in Hell for our own sins (Romans 6:23a, “For the wages of our sin is death...”; that includes the “second death” in the everlasting Lake of Fire mentioned in Revelation 20:6b). A man must see himself as a guilty sinner in the sight of a holy God to be saved, otherwise why would you need a Savior? You must see your need for God's grace, that is, your need for the dear Savior. If you admit your sinnership in God's eyes and believe the Gospel, you are immediately and forever saved!!! God wants to save you, if you'll simply come to Him by faith to be saved. John 6:37, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 20:31, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” We are saved by FAITH alone!!!
There are NO works required nor permissible for salvation. When asked by the curious Jews what “works” were necessary to merit Heaven, Jesus put the matter to rest in John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” There you have it friend—the WORK OF GOD to be saved is to BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ Whom the Father hath sent. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and then He bodily raised-up three days later. This is not a work of self-righteousness; but rather, of the imputed righteousness of God (Romans 4:5-6; Philippian 3:9; Hebrews 4:10-11).
These three elements comprise 'THE GOSPEL':
1) Jesus DIED on the cross for our sins according to the Scriptures,
2). He was BURIED,
3). Jesus bodily RESURRECTED three days later from the dead (1st Corinthians 15:1-6).
Believe and the work is done!
Do you see my friend how all of these “formulas” (as heretic author C.S. Lewis called them) hinge upon or involve human effort? These are all the “dead works” spoken of in Hebrews 6:1, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,” You don't repent from your sins to be saved; but rather, from DEAD WORKS. Repentance is changing your mind about what you want to do to get to Heaven, to what God says you must do to get to Heaven. You must cease trusting in your church to be saved. You must cease trusting in your sacraments, good works, confessional booth, clean living, and manmade methods of trying to merit Heaven. None of these can save a person from Hell. These are all DEAD WORKS!
Religion wants to fit us with glasses, so we'll perceive things through their perspective; but the Lord Jesus Christ wants to open our eyes, so well see the truth. Eternal life is a TAKE proposition, not a GIVE proposition. Salvation will cost you NOTHING; but Discipleship will cost you EVERYTHING (excellent comparison quotes differentiating between the gift of God verses Christian consecration). God will save the vilest sinner who desires to be saved, who comes to Jesus Christ by faith believing the Gospel. God will save a man who is struggling with sexual immorality, drunkenness, a hot temper or whatever sins. God doesn't require that a man make a commitment, to stop doing those evil works as a prerequisite to being saved. If God did that, then eternal life wouldn't be a free gift. This does not mean that Christians have God's permission to sin, God forbid (Romans 3:31). The first thing that God requires of every new believer is to desire the sincere milk of the Word thereby we may grow (1st Peter 2:2). Job 36:11, “If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.”
Pastor Robert Morris Of Gateway Church, Southlake, Texas—A Lordship Salvation Deceiver!
God WON'T save the man who comes believing the Gospel, but thinks he is getting saved because he has decided not to live in open sin anymore. Partial faith in Christ, plus something else, is no faith at all! The unsaved religious man has made a commitment in his heart to follow Christ and live a new. He is sorry for his sins and is passionate about cleaning-up his life of wickedness. He desires to turn over a new leaf and confess Christ publicly everywhere that he goes. He errantly believes all these WORKS are necessary to salvation. Sadly, that religious man is a deceived fool, and is not saved. Do you see how subtle the Devil is? Eternal life is not obtained by doing good works, nor is it obtained by ceasing from bad works. These are BOTH dead works! Salvation is a change of mind from trusting in DEAD WORKS, to FAITH alone in Jesus Christ!
To trust in Lordship Salvation is DEAD WORKS!!! To follow Christ, forsake the world, cease from intentional bad behavior, and make public confession of Christ are all rooted in human effort... DEAD WORKS!!!!!!! Ye must be born again!
Dead Works Are Man's Works
Cain tried to impress God with the work of his hands. Cain worked hard tilling his fields day and night, irrigating and weeding daily. Cain grew some nice crops, a bumper harvest no doubt, and brought the best of the best to offer to God. The Lord instantly rejected Cain's DEAD WORKS!!! They were “dead” because they were based on human effort, and not upon God's redemptive plan for mankind. Isaiah 64:6 warns that all of man's self-righteousness is as “filthy rags” in God's sight. Man's very best is offensive to our holy God. This is a difficult truth for many people to grasp. You could spend your entire adult life helping, building and sacrificially giving to operate orphanages for poor, helping to feed starving and cloth naked little children, and yet, go straight to Hell to burn in the torments of God's wrath forever in your sins. No amount of good deeds can counter the evil deeds (Ecclesiastes 12:14), manipulative ungodly thoughts (Proverbs 24:12) and idle words (Matthew 12:36), for which all men must give account at the Judgment Seat of God (Hebrews 4:13; 9:27).
Ungodly playboy singer and actor, Frank Sinatra (one of the shady “Rat Pack”), donated $100,000,000 of his amassed earthly fortune upon his death to help suffering children in orphanages. That was a nice gesture, but not one penny of Sinatra's philanthropy can buy him out of the Lake of Fire. Sinatra was a lifelong shallow Catholic, trusting in the sacraments of a Mary-worshipping cult to save him. Sinatra was an outspoken critic against organized religion, but he never professed any faith in Jesus Christ either. By all indications Sinatra died in his sins without having ever personally received Jesus Christ as His Savior. So sad! So tragic! Jesus boldly warned in John 3:7—YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN!!!
The following website is one of my favorite doctrinally sound websites (by the late Dr. Hank Lindstrom, 1940-2008), teaching God's awesome simplicity that is in Christ for salvation:
Get God's Gift
On page 114 of the excellent book by Michael Patrick Bowen titled, “I NEVER KNEW YOU,” the author provides an excellent explanation of true Biblical repentance...I NEVER NEW YOU” (Page 114)
“Repent, as Christ meant it to be in terms of salvation, means to change your mind from trusting in what you can do for God to trusting only in what He can do for you.”
SOURCE: Michael Patrick Bowen, a quote from the awesome book, “
Now let's take a look at what the Lord Jesus Christ said concerning WORKS for salvation in John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” The only “WORK” that is required for salvation is that you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen! How you choose to live, after you are saved, has absolutely nothing to do with the gift of eternal life; but rather, it determines our rewards in Heaven (1st Corinthians 3:8, 11-15).
Ray Comfort is the most dangerous kind of false prophet, because he hides a LIE between two TRUTHS. The half-truth is the most effective lie, because in part it can be defended with incontestable logic. In fact, it is challenging to expose such false prophets, because most people have difficulty seeing the problem. The issue here is adding human effort to faith, or using human effort as a validation of faith. Human effort has no place in the salvation God offers to man! IT IS A GIFT!!! Kindly, according to Ray Comfort in the preceding article, a professed Christian who continues in sin may not be saved. The truth is that any professed Christian may not be saved, whether living a righteous life or living in gross immorality. I cannot look at you or anyone else and determine whether or not you are saved, apart from the direct testimony from your own mouth.
Author Mark Twain said, “It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” So true! The Devil is sneaking heresies into our Independent Fundamental Baptist churches by the hour. Don't take my word for it, listen to Pastor Jack Hyles say it himself in these awesome sermons titled: “Fundamentalist Heresy” and “Our Mixed-Up Fundamental Christianity.” Satan's greatest weapon is to con people into living the Christian life without ever being born-again. Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith. God only saves those who are trusting to be saved; God does not save those who are trying to be saved. Either God does the saving, all of it; or else you are not saved at all.
Hebrews 6:1b teaches that salvation involved repentance from 'DEAD WORKS.' So whatever you may have been falsely trusting upon up until now—cleaning up your life of sin, or doing good works, or desiring to depart from sinful activities, or following Christ in obedience, or committing your life to live for God, or water baptism, or speaking-in-tongues, or forsaking the world, or joining church membership, or Sabbath Keeping, or tithing, or confessing Christ publicly, et cetera—If you have been trusting in any of these false securities for salvation—REPENT!!!—that is, change your mind, and STOP TRUSTING THEM FOR SALVATION!!!
Remember, we are saved by BELIEVING, not by REPENTING; but no man has ever BELIEVED who didn't also REPENT! Repentance is an automatic thing. When I witness to people, I intentionally don't even mention repentance, lest I confuse them. If that harelips you like a dog, then please consider that God Himself DIDN'T mention the word “repent” even once in the Gospel of John (the Lord's Gospel tract). John 20:31, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” In the wonderful Gospel of John we find the word “BELIEVE” mentioned 87 times! We are saved by BELIEVING!!!
Pastor Bob Gray Sr. at the Longview Baptist Temple church in Texas correctly preaches . . .
“Repentance means to change your mind—change your mind—change your mind about how you want to get to Heaven to what God says you've got to do to get to Heaven. If you've got to repent of all your sins, you're still headed for Hell tonight.” —Pastor Bob Gray Sr., a quote from the awesome MP3 sermon, Why You Should Be A Part Of A Growing Church
So we have learned that it is not one's sins that must be repented of to be saved; but rather, DEAD WORKS!!! Who can repent of all their sins? No one! It is gross doctrinal error to add the unbiblical requirement for a person to forsake sinful behavior to be saved. This is a manmade requirement that God does not require. Certainly, God wants and commands each of His children to depart from wickedness, but this is a call to Christians who ARE SAVED, and not to the lost who ARE NOT saved. 2nd Timothy 2:19, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
Ephesians 2:10 says that God saves us unto good works. Hebrews 12:6-8 warns that God chastises and scourges his disobedient children, or else they are not legitimately saved (i.e., were never saved to begin with). So, God doesn't take sin lightly—not for the unsaved nor the redeemed. But you don't change and force the hand of God upon sinners by corrupting the plan of salvation to put pressure on new converts to live holy lives. Consequently, there are many false conversions in the churches today, where people errantly think they have been saved, but they haven't; because they were lied to, partially trusting in their own human effort to clean-up their life of sin, forsake the world, commit their will to God, follow Christ, and confess Him publicly. None of these are God's plan of salvation, which the Bible calls: “THE SIMPLICITY THAT IS IN CHRIST” (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4). Jesus is precious!!!
there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall
teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies...” —2nd Peter 2:1
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