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Keralabrethren.net: General Forum: Good works

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# 07694 :  Good works

Eph 2:10 - For we are tHis workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

What is the meaning of the expression, "which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them"?

When did God do this preparing?

What did God prepare?

How do we know what these good works are, so that we know to walk in them?

Post by : moses2006  View Profile    since : 13 Jan 2015


Reply by : deepucvarghese   View Profile   Since : 15 Jan 2015 6:59:36 AM Close

 i think it means

- God prepared us before the foundation of the world that we should walk in the manner as Jesus walked on this earth.

Isaiah 30:21 "And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left".

-- Deepu

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Reply by : moses2006   View Profile   Since : 15 Jan 2015 8:37:35 PM Close

Dear Deepu,

The 'which' in Eph 2:10 seems to be pointing to the 'good works' - not to the 'workmanship'.

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Reply by : deepucvarghese   View Profile   Since : 18 Jan 2015 6:34:54 AM Close

Dear brother,

What you said is right that "which" speaks of Good works.

What is the Good works which God prepared before hand needs discussion. The best i could think of is what i wrote earlier on Good works that

" Living as Jesus lived- God also expects the same from us".

Others can share their thoughts on this.

-- Deepu

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Reply by : tomj   View Profile   Since : 22 Jan 2015 5:51:05 PM Close

Dear Moses2006, 

When did God do this preparing?

Since the earlier part of the passage was dealing with God’s sovereign work in the life of a believer, we should consider this also as part of His sovereign decree and part of God’s plan. God’s sovereign decree is that His people should engage in good works. This was God’s plan from the eternity past. [Eph. 1:11-12] The result of salvation which leads to good works is also in the definite part of God’s plan for His people. This is how we should understand the phrase “which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

What did God prepare?

The very purpose for Christian life- characterized by good works.  

How do we know what these good works are, so that we know to walk in them?

This requires a lengthy study. But I will just focus on one passage. There are several other ones.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing,and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those ewho practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified  kthe flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:16-24 NASB)

Love.

Give money effort & time for - family members, church members, other believers, neighbors & strangers.

Joy.

I do not brood on my current troubles, able to see others troubles, not a complainer, and think of my hope in Christ.

Peace.

Not get perturbed when things don't go my way, not overly concerned about my future, not getting frustrated about things I cannot do, set aside my trouble for others needs.

Patience

Not easily frustrated by other people short comings, willing to wait for my desires, not complaining about what I go thru, not easily offended by others dealings.

Generosity or kindness

Forgiving, help those in need, not self- focused, give away what is not needed.

Goodness

Approve good things when done by unlikeable people, proper sexual morality, no deceit of any kind.

Faithfulness.

Counted on to keep my word, keep appointments, no Reminders needed for something that I commit, no shopping around for best relationships.

Humility.

No talk about personal success, not pointing out failures of others for conversation, no talk about personal possessions, have compassion for others who fail..

Self control

Do not lose my temper, not eating or drinking what I shouldn't. Do not give time or money for something that I shouldn't. Able to look away from what I shouldn't. 

Lot more can be found in the Scriptures. I will be happy to expand some more if found to be profitable. 

Tom Johns

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Reply by : moses2006   View Profile   Since : 27 Jan 2015 4:12:04 PM Close

Dear Tom,

Thank you for the exposition you provided.

To the question, 'what did God prepare?' you said, "The very purpose for Christian life- characterized by good works."

Are you saying that God prepared a 'purpose' for our Christian life? If so, would it be the same as stating, 'which God purposed beforehand that we should walk in them'? And if that is true, why would the inspired text use the word 'prepare'?

The word 'prepare' is at the crux of understanding what it is that this verse is teaching.

Also, you listed fruits of the Spirit as being 'good works'. I am not denying that these are good works, but is'nt the scriptural idea behind the term 'good works' more indicative of selfless service directed towards other human beings? The Lord Jesus taught, "that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt 5:16 quoted in part). It would seem then that 'good works' are outward professions of goodness directed towards other men, who then see/experience our good works and glorify the God they do not see.

Love, joy, peace, self control - they are good works inside us seen only by God, but they are not directed towards other men.

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Reply by : deepucvarghese   View Profile   Since : 4 Feb 2015 10:32:17 AM Close

Dear brother moses,

Because of the fruits of the spirit inside us, we are able to show the good works to others. Both cannot be separated.

Dear brother Tom,

For all the fruits of the spirit mentioned, if we can study and point to the life of Jesus, apostles examples on all these display of the fruits it would be good. I know its vast but if possible in brief can be written. Also we can think of taking one at a time and doing in detail.

-- Deepu

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Reply by : tomj   View Profile   Since : 15 Feb 2015 8:17:09 PM Close

Dear Moses,

You said “The word 'prepare' is at the crux of understanding what it is that this verse is teaching.”

- Let me rephrase and explain a bit more with that word in consideration. In this context that expression means that God saved us with the intent that we should practice good and not evil. He did this or prepared this before He saved us.

What did God prepare? – Conduct in keeping with His character.

Where do we know what those good works are?

As I said earlier, it is a vast subject and it needs the whole Bible. But we can take small passages and we see the overriding theme of good works as they manifest in godly individuals. I mentioned earlier ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ because we often overlook the fact that the fruit of the Spirit is somewhat mystical and they are between God and the individual. Even when we show ‘love’ that love is showed in practical terms as good works. That is what I was explaining. That whole list is filled with practical expressions of good works.

But here is another good example. We see God’s calling on His people.

Ephesians 4: 1-6 –“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”

Then in the same chapter: 17-14

“So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, [m]excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality [n]for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn [o]Christ in this way,21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old[p]self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new [q]self, which [r]in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Tom Johns

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Reply by : tomj   View Profile   Since : 15 Feb 2015 8:25:05 PM Close

Dear Moses & Deepu, 

I did not try to explain anything from the verses I quoted above because those are self-explanatory. The earlier portion teaches us how to conduct and the latter portion tells us how we should not be. We should not be content with not doing the things from the latter, but need to be diligent in doing the list from the former passage.

Tom Johns  

 

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