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What does Jesus mean by "works"?

It is common to reject "works" as part of Salvation. So much so, that there is felt no need to even address what they mean in Jesus' teaching.

Meaning of works

Meaning of Good

In the above we let Jesus establish that the Good life/works is life in accordance with the ten Commandments. The evil life disregards commitment to that, though it obviously is not evil all the time.

Each Commandment can then be used to make statements about Good works and life:

To not have other gods is part of Good works and life


To not take the name of Lord thy God in vain is part of Good works and life


To not forget the Sabbath day to keep it holy is part of Good works and life


To honor thy father and thy mother is part of Good works and life


To not murder is part of Good works and life


To not commit adultery is part of Good works and life


To not steal is part of Good works and life


To not bear false witness against thy neighbor is part of Good works and life


To not covet is part of Good works and life

Rejecting works as part of Salvation puts one squarely at odds with Jesus in Matthew 16:27:

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Certain preconceptions exist about works. There is again a decision to be made, what source to grant the power of interpretation. Looking elsewhere to some other source is not needed. Jesus does explain Himself in many places, like John 5:28-29:


Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.


Put together the two passages above show that Jesus equals works to morality. Works is not meant as some specific task. Rather, that life in general can be lined up with Good in everything one does. That will result in resurrection of life. The ten Commandments are in the center:

Matt. 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies


John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.


O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea (Is. 48:18)

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