Can Your Works Be Found Perfect Before God?

“Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.” (Revelation 3:2)

What “works” is he exactly talking about that are not “perfect”? In Revelation 2:5 Jesus spoke of those at Ephesus as needing to “repent, and do the first works” and that they were “fallen” due to this need. The first work Christ does for us is to save us from sin. If we sin, we have “fallen” back into what he saved us from. In Hebrews 6:1 we clearly see that the “works” needed beyond the first works of repentance and salvation is “perfection.”

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God” (Hebrews 6:1)

The perfection he is talking about is the perfection of the heart. The perfect love for Christ – the love of the Holy Ghost shed abroad in the heart that produces a consistent holy sin-free life.

  • “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Galatians 5:5)
  • “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Peter 1:22-23)

It is by the true and faithful works from a true and faithful heart “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost” that our faith is made “perfect” and that we maintain true spiritual life:

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:17-26)

The beginning of “the faith” is the saving of the soul from sin, but if the soul does not continue good works by the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost in the heart, their faith will become dead because it lacks the consistent good works. This is why Jesus in verse one states “I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” Before the day of Pentecost the Apostles were saved, but they did not have the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost in their hearts. Jesus told them before his crucifixion that the Holy Spirit “dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:17) letting them know that God’s Spirit was with them, but later (come Pentecost) He would actually dwell “in” them. Understanding this need and the weakness the Apostles would have until Pentecost, Jesus told them while he was in the garden

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)

Their own spirit was willing, but without the Holy Ghost ruling their spirit within their hearts, they have a weakness because of the flesh. Therefore he told them to “watch and pray” or, like in Revelation 3:2 above “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die”

It is clear that Jesus does not intend for us to get saved and then continue in a weak condition where we tend to fall back into sin. Jesus wants the weak flesh to die to the will of the Holy Ghost so the Spirit of God can rule in the heart by love and the individual can stay true to Jesus always. But the Devil works to confuse the newly saved by keeping them in a weak fleshly condition so he can eventually get them to fall into sin, but continue to profess the name of Jesus. Having a “a name that thou livest, and art dead.”

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