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"Insights" from the New Testament Greek

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 "Insights" from the New Testament Greek

By Bob Jones, Northside Bible Church, Jacksonville Florida

Are you "Equipped", "Motivated", and "Empowered"?

  I recently received a question from someone who had read a book on the subject of Christian service and rewards. The central theme of the book was that "Christ takes our deeds, if done in His name, and makes them acceptable to the Father."

  Even a casual Bible student knows that we cannot please God with our own works and our own efforts, but exactly how can we "do" anything that pleases God and is rewardable? It seems to me that this should be the "number one" question for every Christian.

  What I found was too many Scriptures to include in this "Insight" that state that God Himself must produce a work "through" us for it to please Him and be rewardable! The three reasons we find in the Scriptures for God bringing this world and His plan for it into existence are: "to glorify HIMSELF", "to demonstrate His many faceted wisdom" and to "bring many new sons into glory". God, and only God deserves glory, honor, and praise, and that is why, in Rev. 4:11 and Chapter five, we see the saints humbly placing their rewards in front of the throne of God.

  Let me use Heb.13:20 - 21, and John 15:4 - 10 to illustrate:

  Heb 13:20 & 21: "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen"

  In Heb. 13:21, underneath the English word "perfect" is the Greek word "katartizo", meaning to completely prepare and equip, and underneath the words "good work" are the Greek words "agathos ergon", the Greek words that describe rewardable Christian deeds all through the New Testament, and "working" in us, is the Greek word "poieo", meaning "to produce" works that are pleasing in God's sight. This passage states what I find all through the New Testament, that God Himself "prepares" us, "equips" us, and then "produces", through us, the "good works" that please Him.

  I was not able to find even one Scripture that supports God "cleaning up our deeds" and making them "acceptable to the Father"! Jesus says it all in 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.

  "Underneath the word "do" in John 15:5 is our Greek word "poieo", to "produce", as in Heb. 13: 21 above, where God "produces" the good works through us. A branch cannot decide to produce a fruit! A branch that is producing fruit cannot decide which fruit to produce! It is the vine that decides which fruit to produce, and the sap flowing from the vine that causes the fruit to be produced. It is ALL up to the VINE (Jesus), not the branch (us), and the "fruit" is produced by the power of the "sap" (the Holy Spirit)! In this analogy, when we are "in fellowship" (1 John Chap. 1), "abiding" in Jesus (John 15:4-10), it is God who equips us and gives us the motivation and the power to produce His "fruit".

  I find that it is only unconfessed sin in our lives that halts God's "production" through us and switches the motivation back to our own self. And, how very sad it is, to see so many Christians today being more concerned with "how to motivate God" than with "how God motivates us".

  But, what a joy it is, to allow God to work in us! Gal. 5:22 & 23 tells us that God "produces" love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self control in us, as He works in us to do His will.

  Take in God's Word, stay "in fellowship", and prayerfully seek to do God's will, so it can be "God who is presently working in you both to will and to do His good pleasure" Phil. 2:13.

  Bob Jones

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