The First Principles of the Oracles of God
Repentance from Dead Works – Sermon Notes
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Repentance is the sinner’s first response to God. Illustrated in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-22). The Parable speaks of a son who turned
his back on his home and headed for a distant land to waste all that he had by sin. Eventually, coming to himself, sitting among the swine, lonely and in
rags, and longing for something to fill his stomach he made a decision, “I
will go back to my father”.
His decision was then followed by action. This is the true nature of
repentance, an inward decision followed by action. In his own sinful
condition, every man who was ever born has turned his back on God and
Heaven, his Father, his home, walking further and further away from the light, closer to the grave and an eternity in hell. For every individual on life’s road there’s one essential step he must take, he must stop, change his mind and change direction. Change from walking in darkness to walking in the light.
Repentance in the Original Greek Texts – ‘met-an-oy-ah’. The definite
meaning throughout Scripture is ‘to change one’s mind’.
Repentance not beginning with emotion but decision – decision followed by
action. Repentance is an inward decision resulting in an outward turning
back or around, to face a completely new direction.
Dead works – Defined simply as works which are contrary to the ways of
God, sinful in nature leading to death, spiritually, emotionally and even
Thus having established the true nature and definition of repentance, dead
works can be examined from the scriptures and can be found in three
realms: Works of Darkness, Works of the Flesh and Works of the Law.
Works of Darkness: (Ephesians 5): ”…and have no fellowship with the
unfruitful works of darkness…” – Sexual
Fornication – (
Uncleanness – (
Filthiness – (
Foolish talking and Jesting – (mo-
Works of the Flesh: (Galatians 5: 19-): “…now the works of the flesh are
Adultery – (
Fornication – (
Uncleanness – (
Lasciviousness – (as-
Idolatry – (i-do-lol-at-
Witchcraft – (far-
Hatred – (
Variance – (er-is) – Contention, discord, disagreeing and lack of harmony
Emulations – (
Wrath – (
Strife – (er-ith-i-ah) – Selfish ambition,
Seditions – (dee-
Heresies – (
Envying – (
Murders – (fon-os) – Un-lawful killing with premeditated intent
Drunkenness – (meth-ay) – Intoxication, often drunk, given to alcohol
Reveling – (ko-mos) – Excess e.g.’ eating, letting loose, excesses
Works of the Law: (Galatians 2:16) “…knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by the faith in Jesus Christ. Even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by Him and not, by works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no man be justified…”
Simply knowing that a man is not declared righteous in God’s eyes by the works of the law. Changing one’s mind from believing good works and observing laws is the thing which saves a man. Rather, putting one’s faith in the atoning work of Christ on the cross.
The relation between faith and works is an important subject – relatively little consideration is given to this. As a result, many good Christians are left in confusion or partial bondage, somewhere in between living in grace and
living under the law.
(John 19:30) “…so Jesus received the sour wine. He said “it is finished” and
bowing his head, he gave up the spirit…”
It is finished, the most emphatic words Jesus could have used. It translates,
perfectly perfect – completely complete. All that was ever required to pay the penalty for sin and purchase salvation for all men was completely accomplished through Christ’s sufferings on the Cross. To suggest that any man need to do anything more in some ways would be to reject the testimony of God’s Word and discredit the work of Christ. Any attempt by an individual to earn salvation by works is almost an insult to God – it carries with it the implication that the work of Christ was somehow not enough, incomplete or inadequate. Salvation comes through faith and faith alone, through doing nothing else but believing on the Son of God. So long as an individual tries to do anything to earn salvation, he cannot experience true salvation which is received by faith alone.
(Romans 9:31-32) “…but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness and
has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it
(Ephesians 2: 8-9) “…For it is by grace ye are saved through faith, and not of
yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works lest any man should boast…”
All of the elements we’ve discussed are what God calls every individual
without exception to change their minds from. Only through true repentance can true faith be found.
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