In which “works” are daisies

by Craig on June 10, 2011

 

 

 

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Here’s the thing.

I’m scooching through the Bible finding instances of this Greek word:

ἔργον

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:

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White daisies

These are “good works” – works in accord with the law of Corinthians 13 love. (MT 5:16) (here)

Yellow daisies

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…

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a rose.

then there are…

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Purple daisies

“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.

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Black 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.

Oh…

and it’s…

the first…

yellow one.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

A. June 10, 2011 at 10:28 am

Craig, this is very interesting….I never knew that works represented so many different daisies, seriously. Looking forward to next post.

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Craig June 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm

A. In all the reading I’ve done through all the years on works and faith I can’t believe that not a one snatched up this little daisy metaphor. I heart the daisy metaphor! I think these are pretty much the kinds of daisies I’ll find – the question is how many of each now – and the fun I’ll have with the context of each one. daisies, in some circles, have gotten a bad name – too bad when really only the yellow daisies are bad. Thank you A. – and God bless you.

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Debbie June 10, 2011 at 8:47 pm

I love the daisy metaphor. :) So . . .you are saying that there are two kinds of works, good and bad, in regards to salvation. Yellow is bad, right? Or not really bad? Black is bad. Is that 3 kinds of daisy and works? Do I need to read yesterdays post first? haha! Okay, going to read like I should now. Thank you for this study!!!

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Craig June 11, 2011 at 8:30 am

I heart the Daisy metaphor to Deb! And I think the thing I’m saying is that there are basically those two kinds of works – where salvation is involved – the one kind of works that is an attempt to pile up good things to qualify for entrance to heaven – the other one just the good stuff that we do because we are his – because we want to obey – those are the works of love. The black daisy – I guess that’s part of it too – but not for those of us who know Jesus. Those are the works that prove a denial of God – so it’s kind of part – but kind of not – I’m still thinking about that. So, in short two daisies – maybe three. And that first post – probably kind of crucial to read to understand this one and the ones following. God bless you and keep you Deb.

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Cindy Holman June 11, 2011 at 8:59 pm

This is great – I LOVE the flower pictures :)

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Craig June 12, 2011 at 7:59 am

The daisies make for a great metaphor – I heart the Daisy metaphor. I might speed up – this meandering through the meadow and picking up the daisies – but since context is so important I might also go slow to see what the context says for instance. Not sure yet. By the way – I think I picked the prettiest ones flowers that were available:-) God bless you Cindy.

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Michelle June 12, 2011 at 4:10 am

I love flowers!! And now I’m going to have pictures of daisies in my Bible! Nice. :)

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Craig June 12, 2011 at 8:03 am

nobody ever really finds new stuff in the Bible – we been studying the Bible – at least the New Testament for 2000 years. But we get new takes on what is there. The host of people doing the heaviest studying of the Bible since it’s been written has been men – that’s just the way it was – so maybe that’s why I’ve never ever read of a study of a word like this using the metaphor of flowers. We really could’ve used more women theologians through the centuries. Bless you Michelle – glad you like the daisies.

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Marsha Young June 13, 2011 at 11:18 am

Well, I just LOVE all the pictures of the daisies. What a treat.

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Craig June 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Marsha, thank you. This whole “works”/faith thing is a difficult topic for some. The daisies are perfect for taking something difficult – and making it – a little nicer to look at. and I think it might just be the very first time this metaphor has been used :-)Thank you again Marsha, and God bless you.

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Danielle Charene March 25, 2015 at 2:14 am

Beautifully written!

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Craig March 25, 2015 at 12:15 pm

thank you Danielle – my wish for today (should some genie grant me one) is that you were a book editor or a literary agent, if you’re not, thank you anyway, and God bless and keep you and yours,

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