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God's Not Mad at You
Works salvation is spurious, but works isn’t.

Works salvation is spurious, but works isn’t.

APRIL 22, 2021

/ Programs / Key Life / Works salvation is spurious, but works isn’t.

Steve Brown:
Works salvation is spurious, but works isn’t. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
God’s grace changes everything. How we love, work, live, lead, marry, parent, evangelize, purchase and worship. This is Key Life, with practical Bible teaching to get you home, with radical freedom, infectious joy, and surprising faithfulness.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible, open it to that fifth chapter of Galatians, we’re at the second half, the end of that fifth chapter. We’ve been there for weeks. I just stopped. I am after all your tour director, as we go through Galatians. And when you hit a text that requires more than a three part sermon, you need a three sermon sermon, or maybe even longer than that. So I stopped here and, we’re spending some time looking at the nature of freedom. We have seen, that freedom is discerned in desire. In other words, God, when you became a Christian and started fixing your inside, causing you to want things you didn’t want before, to love things you didn’t love before, to go places you didn’t want to go before. He begins to change your desire. And it’s magnified also in knowledge, one of the great gifts that we’ve been given as Christians is the truth. Just the truth, just the truth. It’s matured in relationship. That relationship is with the Spirit of God, as supernatural overtones. But the relationship is also with one another. You can’t be free, unless you do it with somebody else. You can’t laugh at your own jokes, and go into the darkness of depression with your own tears. You were designed to share that with others, and that’s freedom, but it’s also exhibited in works. Now, we’re going to say something about works salvation, but let me give you the verses, 22 through 23.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

That’s the fruit, singular, of this Spirit, where the works of the flesh is plural. They go on and on and on. This is what happens when you’re free. Something begins to take place and you’re gentled down, you’re loving more than you were. It just happens. It’s just a part of what it means to be a Christian. Now, the danger is when you start talking like this, is that there are some people who will use what is the natural growth pattern of a Christian, as a legalistic pattern to determine whether you’re saved, or will stay saved. And that has nothing to do with this. Works salvation says, yeah, you’re saved by faith, by Jesus, by grace, but there are some other things you ought to know, and then they began to list them. And then they began to measure you, by the list they just gave you. And pretty soon they’re banging you over the head with a two by four, and the Christian faith becomes something that’s not Christian. It becomes, just another form of legalism and the law. It becomes something that is burdensome. And Jesus spoke clearly about that. He said some of the legalistic religious leaders of his days, put burdens on people’s shoulders, and wouldn’t lift a finger to help. And then Jesus said, who wasn’t always nice, by the way. That person becomes twice the child of hell, than he or she was before they encountered you. And so, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, but there is something that does take place , once you come to Christ, and begins to make you outward, to make you think of others sometimes, to make you want to be different, and then to find yourself becoming different. Let me tell you something. If you come to my church, you’re going to find a bunch of sinners, they’re like porcupines. I love my pastor and my staff, but we’re like porcupines, as somebody has said, I think it was Chuck Swindoll, who said we’re like porcupines trying to hug each other in the middle of storm. You’re going to find a sin. You’re going to find people that are moving in clicks. You’re going to be, but I’ll tell you, if you get sick, you’re going to have meals brought to your doorstep. If you get afraid, you’re going to have people that will come alongside, and stand with you. If you’ve sinned, you’re going to find people that will love you, anyway. That’s what the Christian faith is about, and it manifests itself in works. It just does. Dogs don’t bark, so they can become dogs. They bark, but because they’re dogs. Trees don’t have leaves, so they can be trees. They have leaves, because they are trees. It’s the same way with the Christian faith. It’s not works salvation, but works are not irrelevant. God starts doing things. And you find yourself looking to others, and manifesting the fruit of the spirit. Love, loving people you didn’t love. You find yourself giggling at inappropriate times, joy, peace, you find you’re sleeping better at night, patience with your kids and your husband and your wife and your friends and the people at work. Kindness, goodness, faithfulness you don’t leave, gentleness, self-control. Listen, that happens. It just does. If it doesn’t happen, he’ll still love you. You’re still his. But it will happen, I promise. I often say to people, in fact, I wrote a whole book about it. The book was titled Three Free Sins. If I had it to do over again, I would title that book, something else. It’s gotten me into in more trouble than you can possibly imagine. There are people who never read the book, and were too cheap to buy it and read it, or too lazy, who only read the title. And they accused me of all kinds of awful things. One, one guy came to a book signing during that time, and bought five books. And I said, you’re going to give them to your friends. And he said, no, I need the sins with these five books, I get 15 free sins. And as soon as I got some more money, I’m going to buy more of your books. And I said, no, you don’t, and he laughed and said, I was joking, of course. But you know what the central theme of that was, that the reason we’re not good is because we’re trying. Or the reason we’re so bad, is because we’re trying so hard to be good. It’s the same way with the fruit of the Spirit. It is wonderful that the apostle Paul talked about fruit. What does fruit do to become fruit and to grow? Well, it works hard at it. It goes, I gotta, I gotta really, if I’m going to be a grape, I’ve got to really work hard. No, no. They just grow, because they’re attached to the tree. And Jesus said, I’m the vine. When he talks about that, he’s talking about something important. And so, I would say to you, as we look at the works that come out of this, don’t worry so much about it. Let me give you a promise. And it’s based in the Bible. You’re going to get better. You say, you don’t know me. Yeah, I do. People are my business. You’re going to get better, and you can’t help it. It’s promised, Philippians 1:6 says.

He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

So, go get a milkshake. Now, I’m not suggesting that you should ignore the means of grace, of course not. Make sure that you’re meeting with God’s people to worship, that you’re studying Scripture, that you’re praying, but that’s not it. It’s going to happen, whether you do that or not. Paul is describing what God is doing in God’s people. He is not giving a list of things you’ve got to work at in order to become, Paul is describing, and it’s descriptive, it’s not even instructive, it’s descriptive. It’s not an urge that you be these things. It’s descriptive, he’s saying this is what’s going to happen in your life. This is what you’re gonna see. And sometimes, God will even let you see it, when it happens, so you don’t get discouraged. Sometimes, when I’m praying in the morning, and I’m going through my confession time, I tell Jesus, I don’t, I can’t think of a single thing I can bring to you, whereby I might commend myself in your presence. And in fact, I can think of a bunch of stuff that is offensive to your holiness. And I want to confess that before you, and then sometimes, Jesus tells me I’m doing stuff. Let me show you. And I see an area, where I’m growing, where I’m going kinder and gentler and more compassionate and more civil. And, I say, you know, you could have told me that before and I would have felt better. And sometimes, I think he says to me, Brown, if I give you an inch, you’ll take a mile. You have such a tendency to self-righteousness, but you have a tendency to discouragement too. And I want you to see, what I’m doing in your life. Hey. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Thanks Steve. And we will continue through Galatians next week, don’t miss that. And of course, if you missed any episodes, join at keylife.org where you can listen to those in the old time you want. And tomorrow being Friday, that means it’s time again for Friday Q&A. That’s when our friend Pete Alwinson joins us, and together, Steve and Pete will answer the challenging questions that you have sent in. Well, here we are already at the end of April. Can you believe that, the year is flying by. So, let me ask you, have you claimed your copy of the 2021 edition of Key Life Magazine yet? If not, allow me to intrigue you. This edition features a wonderful article from Steve called You Can’t Fix It. You’ll also discover pieces from Robin DeMurga, Chad West and a new Key Life voice, Chris Wachter. It’s all in the 2021 edition of Key Life Magazine. And we would love to send it to you for free. Just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail Steve@keylife.org and ask for the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to

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