Christian Churches of God

Faith and Works (No. 86)

(Edition 2.0 19950701-20000327)

This paper shows the relationship between Faith and Works. It shows the requirement to repent from dead works. The demonstration of faith is seen to be held, by the apostles, to be from works.


Christian Churches of God




(Copyright ã 1995, 2000 Wade Cox)

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Faith and Works

It is a principle of Christianity that the just shall live by faith (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; Heb. 10:38). A common modern supposition is that faith has superseded works and that the law is done away. More particularly it is assumed that keeping the law is a part of works and that works has no part in salvation. These comments derive from a misunderstanding of the relationship between salvation and grace and the law. The relationship was identified in the paper The Relationship Between Salvation by Grace and the Law (No. 82).

This paper takes the relationship onwards to the relationship between Faith and Works.

It is a matter of fact that Christ indicated that the law is composed of parts and that the weightier matters of the law are Justice and Mercy and Faith. Christ said that these things ought to be done without neglecting the others (Mat. 23:23).

So the issue is that there were weightier matters. There were smaller parts of the law that ought to be done. Christ did not say they were done away with. He says: these you ought to have done, without leaving the other undone. So both had to be done, but the weightier matters took precedence over the smaller elements of the law. The tithing on the herbs in your garden, does not excuse you from going out and doing good to your neighbour. It is a fact that many people think they are righteous because they do small things in the work of God. Yet the major portions of the work of God they leave undone, or run away from them. Christ is saying that these people, these Scribes and Pharisees, knew what the law was yet displaced the law, where they put the emphasis on things that were out of proportion to the important matters they should have been dealing with. You simply canít leave undone, the important matters of the law.

Christ called us to a work. He did not call us to simply sit down and pray in our rooms. You cannot enter the Kingdom of God simply by praying in your room, when you have a capacity to do other things. There are many people who canít get out of their rooms and they pray in their closets and they do the work of the Lord, because the prayers of a righteous man avails much. There are all sorts of things that people should be doing, given that they have the capacity and attributes to work. Many people find difficulty with that and with the concept that there are rules and regulations by which they have to live.

From Christís comment in Matthew 23:23 it can be seen that faith is a pillar of the law rather than its replacement. So Justice and mercy and faith are the three major portions of the law that Christ said had to be kept. Indeed faith is the means by which the law was kept in a hostile environment. The Passover was kept through faith; not as a precursor to faith. The concept is that before the law was given to Moses, this Passover was kept by Moses in faith. So faith preceded the law and is part of the law (Heb. 11:28).

Thatís important, because Protestants and so-called modern Christians come out with the concept that the law was done away with and faith is a concept of the NT and that it eliminated works. Further, they believe that faith in Jesus Christ is all that is required and through faith in Jesus Christ they will be saved. That is only partially true.

An important text that is often misused is that of Hebrews 6:1 because of its reference to repentance from dead works. The text must be read in context.

Hebrews 6:1-12 1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 with instruction about ablutions, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. 4 For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt.

This refers to people who have been part of the elect, received the Holy Spirit and then fall away from the truth. It is impossible to restore them to the truth. They go to the second resurrection.

7 For land which has drunk the rain that often falls upon it, and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.

If you were cultivated (prepared) and given the Holy Spirit that is a blessing from God.

8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed; its end is to be burned. 9 Though we speak thus, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things that belong to salvation. 10 For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness in realising the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (RSV)

Thatís pretty clear. You donít lay again the elementary teachings. The elementary doctrines of Christ are repentance from dead works, faith towards God and instructions in simplicity of the law, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. They are milk. We go on to greater things. It does not mean that works are dead and that they are to be done away with.

The comment refers to repentance from dead works. The text, however, takes the Christian beyond the sense of the two facets of the elementary doctrines. Thus the level of maturity is beyond the initial sense of repentance from dead works. Notice that the repentance is from dead works, not from works (cf. Gal 5:19-22). The misapprehension stems from the false premise that all works are dead. That is incorrect.

There is a side issue in this matter. Once you have tasted the Holy Spirit and you put your shoulder to the wheel and you have enlisted in the army of God, you canít run away with impunity. It is not a matter of saying "Iíll take up my cross again; Iíll put it down and bury my father; or Iíll try out my oxen; or Iíll do something else and then Iíll take it up when it suits me. Thatís not the way the system works. When you enlist in the field you work till sundown and you can be called in at any time. The parable of the labourers in the field shows all receive the same wages, i.e. of salvation. But they all worked and laboured until sundown, till the end of the day. Some were called in late, but they all laboured together from the time they were called in. If you left the field you did not get your wages.

The end result of that is in 1Corinthins 5:5 Ė you are given over to the adversary so your life may be saved on the last day. That is the punishment. You go into the second resurrection. One needs to repent of an attitude of holding Christ and the system up to contempt. We have a work to do and all of us have a responsibility to fulfil that work to the best of our ability. Some of us have more abilities than others have. Some of us have different abilities. Some of us are strong in prayer and fasting. Some are talented in other ways. But all of us are called to a work as members of the one body and our head is Jesus Christ. It is important to remember that the head of this church is Jesus Christ and to suggest otherwise is slander.

The faith chapter of Hebrews 11 is important in showing how the faith was kept and how people developed the faith. It is not a NT concept at all. The NT is quite clear in pinning faith back to the origin of the world.

Hebrews 11:1-39 1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old received divine approval. 3 By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he received approval as righteous, God bearing witness by accepting his gifts; he died, but through his faith he is still speaking. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was attested as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, took heed and constructed an ark for the saving of his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which comes by faith.

Noah was warned of the end of that age and he began to build an ark. It took him a hundred years and he earned the derision of the entire people around him. We were given the book of Revelation after Jesus Christ, which warns of the end of this age. The end of this age has sure signs and by faith we look to the coming of Messiah. In the same way the prophets who preceded the Revelation, give warning of the coming of the Messiah and of the end of this age. We too, are now held in derision for believing that. More and more people who profess to be Christian say that the Lord has delayed his coming. More and more people will put off the coming of Messiah to further and further dates. The more horrific it gets out there, the more capacity they have to put off the coming of Messiah. The more wars there are the more likely they are to put it off. Only when finally they are confronted with the enormity of the devastation, will they then begin to pray for the coming of the Messiah. Very few people are praying Thy Kingdon come right now.

8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.

God gave Sarah a promise. Even though she was way past childbearing age, she believed that He would fulfil that promise.

12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

So Abrahamís progeny were as the stars of heaven. They extended way beyond Judah.

13 These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

This seeking is in fact a pilgrimage on the earth; waiting for God to bring the new Jerusalem down and reconcile this planet to the heavenly host. That concept itself is under attack now by societies in this world - the fact that Christians see themselves as pilgrims and exiles in this world.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, "Through Isaac shall your descendants be named."

God had made this statement, yet Abraham was then apparently being ordered by Godís messenger (the Angel of God) to breach that undertaking.

19 He considered that God was able to raise men even from the dead; hence, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.

So Abraham had the faith that even if God asked him to kill his son, He would resurrect his son and name the descendants of the earth through Isaac. He had absolute confidence and faith that if God asked him to place his son up to be killed, then He would resurrect his son. That is an enormous act of faith. Many people have not had the faith to place even their jobs on the line, in the pursuit of the one true God, let alone their sons.

20 By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21 By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.

That was when he blessed Ephraim and Manasseh. Those blessings were given to our people in faith, knowing that they would be fulfilled and they were fulfilled. The blessings given to the sons of Joseph were fulfilled three thousand years (or more) after the death of the patriarch. It is quite significant that it was more than three thousand years from the death of Jacob, before that the full blessing was given to Ephraim and Manasseh. Even now it is not fully demonstrated, because Messiah is yet to bring the full blessings of the peace of the birthright.

22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his burial.

Joseph asked to be taken back to Israel to be buried. He knew his people were in captivity as slaves in Egypt as a nation, yet he gave instruction to his son that they would go back into Israel and bury him there when they went in the Exodus. All of that is an understanding of prophecy and an understanding of faith. That is the Holy Spirit dealing with these men, telling them what is to happen and giving them direction as to what would happen in the future. All these things are far-reaching. This faith chapter has very deep significance.

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful; and they were not afraid of the king's edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered abuse suffered for the Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he looked to the reward.

This is Moses suffering abuse for the Messiah. How can you divorce Moses and his actions from Messiah, when the NT quite clearly says that Mosesí suffering of the abuse in Egypt was for Messiah. He did it for Jesus Christ. That is a powerful concept.

27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king; for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the first-born might not touch them. 29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as if on dry land; but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given friendly welcome to the spies. 32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets -- 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated -- 38 of whom the world was not worthy -- wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, (RSV)

The two important aspects of this text are that:

1. Faith was the essential element to obedience

to the law of God; and

2. In spite of this faith they did not receive the promise. Thus faith alone is not an assurance of salvation.

That is the major point of this work. There are conditional sequences of action that are required of all of the elect. Faith is merely one of the preconditions to salvation. The others are repentance and baptism through the body and blood of Jesus Christ, the keeping of the commandments of God for the retention of the Holy Spirit after the laying on of hands and the development by faith in the spirit. They are all interrelated and all conditional. Faith itself without works is dead. You are not a Christian if you think that by faith alone you will inherit the Kingdom of God. You will not.

James says that the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven (Jas. 5:15). The composite nature of this text has led to a health wealth gospel and the doctrine of sickness equals sin, which is also held by shamanism. The healing of the individual by faith applies both physically and spiritually and this is the sense in which it is applied. There is no doubt that sickness results from some sin, but not all sickness is the direct result of the sins of the individual.

That is obvious. The world is now in a fairly chronic state after six thousand years of misrule. It is not a fact that if you are sick you have been sinning. It is not a sign of a lack of faith because someone is dying of cancer.

Faith is the essential element for healing but the sins are the transgression of the law (1Jn. 3:4). Hence faith is directly coupled to the law for the well being of the individual (i.e. the spiritual well being). There are some sins which carry a physical penalty. If you choose to be an alcoholic you have a physical penalty to bear. This could result from the fact that you may not eat properly and your body systems collapse.

All unrighteousness is sin (1Jn. 5:17). Justice and righteousness are the same concept coming from the same word in Hebrew (Zedek or Zadok). Hence justice and righteousness and faith are all related to the law as the just or the righteous shall live by faith (Hab. 2:4 quoted in Rom. 1:17; Heb. 10:38). Faith is thus the manner in which the elect walk in obedience to God within the laws of God. This is the sense in which one is to continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel (Col. 1:23).

James expounds the question of faith in James chapter 2. The basis of the problem was found in respect of persons. The respect of persons has been a serious and continual problem in the Churches of God for centuries. God is not a respecter of persons (2Sam. 14:14) in the same way also Christ did not respect persons (Mat. 22:16; Mk. 12:14). James saw this problem in James 2:1 (partiality from prosoopolempsiais is rendered respect of persons see Marshallís Interlinear) (cf. also the paper Respect of Persons (No. 221)).

James 2:1-26 1 My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.

So faith has a large number of conditions (strings attached), or ways in which you must hold the faith.

2 For if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "Have a seat here, please," while you say to the poor man, "Stand there," or, "Sit at my feet," 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonoured the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you, is it not they who drag you into court? 7 Is it not they who blaspheme that honourable name which was invoked over you? 8 If you really fulfil the royal law, according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbour as yourself," you do well. 9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. 11 For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," said also, "Do not kill." If you do not commit adultery but do kill, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; yet mercy triumphs over judgment.

In other words, as you judge so you will be judged. If you judge without mercy and if you are harsh on other people and if you take offence easily and if you act against others easily, so too people will deal with you. So too will people be offended and react to you and deal with you as you have dealt with other people. God will use that system to drive it home to you, if He is working with you.

People who stand in the way of Godís work, or attempt to alter the determined course of action that God has set in train, are dealt with. He is capable of removing people and He is also capable of killing them. That is a very important concept. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Things are done with or without Godís blessing. If they are done with Godís blessing and if you are dealing with Godís work, do not attempt to thwart Godís work, because you fight against God and He will deal with you.

The relationship between faith and the interrelationship of the law is seen from this text (James 2:1-13). More importantly the essential evil of respect of persons is seen also to be the perversion of justice and hence righteousness. There can be no respect of persons in Godís church.

James goes on to examine the relationship between faith and works which flows from the text. The message cannot be divorced from the preceding section in context.

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. 18 But some one will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe -- and shudder. 20 Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness"; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead. (RSV)

James chapter 2 goes hand in hand with Hebrews chapter 11. Faith and works go hand in hand. The same action is being discussed. One is by faith and one is by works. The work itself stems from faith.

Thus faith was accompanied by works before Moses and with Abraham and Abraham was justified by works. Faith was active with works and faith is completed by works. Faith without works is dead. The essence of the law is that the first great commandment is kept by faith and through works is not prejudiced. By jealous guarding of the first four commandments the first great commandment to love God is kept.

The fourth element of the worship of God is the keeping of the Sabbath day and that is a positive element. It is a positive test of the worship of the one true God. The Sabbath commandment is a test commandment for the first great commandment. We should all remember that. Thatís why people have so much resistance to it; why Trinitarians find it so difficult.

Whereas the first great commandment can be kept by faith in the first three commandments, works is necessary to the keeping of the fourth. Moreover the second great commandment to love oneís neighbour is only demonstrated by works and thus faith without works is dead. A man is justified by works and not by faith alone. The body apart from the spirit is dead so also faith apart from works is dead.

Thou shalt not is a negative aspect of the ten commandments, but there are positive aspects also. The fifth and tenth commandments are commandments with promise and they are positive aspects. The first commandment is also a commandment with promise. The tenth commandment Thou shalt not covet takes an attitude of mind. You have to have a positive attitude of mind to keep the tenth commandment, which helps you then to keep the other aspects of loving your neighbour. God has no respect of persons (Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11) and no respect of persons in judgment (Prov. 24:23) because it is not good (Prov. 28:21) and hence faith without works will prevent any individual from entry to the kingdom. The key to the kingdom of God is obedience through faith in Jesus Christ, not by faith in Jesus Christ regardless of obedience.

If you have faith in Jesus Christ, obey the commandments. If you want to keep the Holy Spirit, obey the commandments. The obedience of the elect stems from the commandments of God. Fear God and keep his commandments (Eccl. 12:13). The least of the commandments are not to be broken (Mat. 5:19). If we are to enter into life we must keep the commandments (Mat. 19:17). Matthew 19:16-22 shows the intent of the commandments.

Matthew 19:16-22 16 And behold, one came up to him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" 17 And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments." 18 He said to him, "Which?" And Jesus said, "You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honour your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbour as yourself." 20 The young man said to him, "All these I have observed; what do I still lack?" 21 Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. (RSV)

The intent is that we should sacrifice for each other and for the work. If we say we love God yet do nothing then we are not keeping the faith and we will not inherit the kingdom of God. We should sacrifice for the kingdom and to follow Christ. Words without action are meaningless.

Ephesians couples the theme of obedience to God and the patient long suffering under earthly, and what modern society would consider unjust, rule.

Ephesians 6:1-20 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honour your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 "that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth." 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. 5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as to Christ; 6 not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good any one does, he will receive the same again from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 Masters, do the same to them, and forbear threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him. 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

This sequence of armour has significance. It is the whole preparation for the putting on the armour of the Lord based on truth. The undergarment for all of this is truth. There can be no lies in what you do; no delusion and no self-delusion.

15 and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; 16 besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one.

The darts thrown at you are discouragement and attacks on your faith; the faith that we are part of the body of Jesus Christ; that we are doing the work of God; that we are led by the Holy Spirit and that we are speaking the truth and on it goes. All of these constitute discouragement. The only way the adversary can get to you is by people close to you through whom he can level accusations at you. He will do that through people who think they are righteous.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The helmet of salvation protects your head. The saving grace of Jesus Christ protects your mind also. You are given repentance, which through a knowledge of sin leads to guilt. Then through guilt we come to repentance and from repentance to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The adequacy of Christís sacrifice is the helmet of salvation.

The weapon we deal with is the word of God. This is a two edged sword in our hands. That is why we can deal with these people who misuse it. It is our weapon not theirs, because what they say cannot be substantiated from it, when it is put to the test.

18 Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. (RSV)

That prayer should be uttered for everybody who speaks in the name of Jesus Christ, and speaks among the elect proclaiming the mystery of the gospel.

The concept that comes to the fore here is that the rebellious host is the basis or cause of the battle that we undertake. These principalities and powers have established an unjust system. Faith is one of the elements of the armour of God. The chief weapon is the sword of the spirit which is the word of God. Thus the Bible and more particularly the Old Testament Scripture was the main weapon of the elect. The requirement to keep alert is paramount. The adversary seeks to subvert the elect with a false doctrine that seeks to eliminate the laws of God and deceive the elect if it were possible. In this cause they seek to replace the laws of God with the commandments of men (Mat. 15:9; Mk. 7:7). We know God when we keep His commandments (1Jn. 2:3). If anyone says they know God and yet say that it is not essential to keep His commandments they are liars and the truth is not in them (1Jn. 2:4). They are not of the elect.

1John 2:1-6 1 My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He who says "I know him" but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly love for God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: 6 he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (RSV)

We walk in the way Christ walked and we keep the commandments of God and thus we demonstrate our love of God in Christ. By walking in the way Christ walked our love of God is perfected.

Do not be deceived by arguments that seek to reduce the law to Semitism. Such false teachers preach doctrines of demons. There is no light in them (Isa. 8:20).