Here’s the thing.
I’m scooching through the Bible finding instances of this Greek word:
pronounced like “air gone” – emphasis on the first syllable.
In the plural it’s translated as “works”.
I’m checking out all the instances because James says without “works” faith is dead. So I think to really get what he means, I have to know what “works” is. And “works” can mean a lot of different things, so the only way to really get the meaning is by context.
And we have a whole New Testament full of context,
and so it’s that context I’m rummaging through.
I began a metaphor a couple of posts back about daisies.
The short of it:
works = daisies.
The Bible is the field – and in the field are daisies (the word “works”).
The daisies so far:
These are “good works” – works in accord with the law of Corinthians 13 love. (MT 5:16) (here)
Yellow being the caution color, because these daisies are “works” of the law of Moses. The thing is, they aren’t bad in and of themselves – the problem lies in the practice of gathering them all up in a bunch and trying to earn our way into heaven by presenting God with the bouquet. Nobody can have a big enough, or perfect enough bunch of daisies to get into heaven. For that we need Grace – maybe Grace is…
then there are…
“Miraculous works” mostly of Our Lord Jesus – they’re pretty in their own right – and purple because purple is the royal color. But they don’t concern salvation in the way that “works” in James does. So I’m skipping the purple daisies.
“Evil works”, worse than yellow daisies because the black daisies are kind of the anti-white daisies. At least the yellow daisies are an attempt to get to God – black daisies turn their face from God – that was yesterday’s post. (John 3: 19-21) (here)
I’m laying it on the line with this search, because I have said that there are two kinds of “works” in regards to salvation – and that the Reformers kind of bunched the yellow daisies in with the white daisies – and called them both bad.
The risk comes in the fact that I’ve never run through all of the instances of “works” (ἔργον) in the New Testament – and so I might be proven wrong. If that happens, I promise to be the first one to jump up and say “I told you so!”
By the way, the tally so far, one white daisy and one black daisy, a bunch of purple daisies, and no yellow daisies … yet.
For some reason I went out of order yesterday and skipped from Matthew to John. It was probably a butterfly. Today I run back and pick a daisy that I missed.
A brand new daisy…
a green one…
green daisies are pretty, but not always germane to the discussion. The more they lean toward the white – or are tinged with black – the more relevance they have.
Green daisies are “works” in the sense that it’s just something that’s done – an act. Like this morning Laska the love kitty did the “work” of adorably annoying me while I was typing this. I found the green daisy in Matthew 11:2:
When John heard in prison of the works of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to him.
By the way, there is a possibility that this could be a purple daisy. Regardless, I’m only interested in the white, yellow, and possibly black daisies.
Looking ahead in the meadow I see the next daisy.
It’s a really good example of how we have to use context for definition.