God Shall Bring Every Work Into Judgement
With this current study, Mr. John Phillips of Marietta, Ga., concludes his series of brief, pithy articles on the book of Ecclesiastes.
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 12:14
Salvation is by faith; judgment is by works. “God shall bring every work into judgment.” Not even the Christian resting in a full and free salvation on the finished work of Christ is exempt. “The fire,” says Paul, “shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Cor. 3:13).
There are many people who think they can be saved by works. Theirs is a very old religion. It was first proposed by Cain in the early morn of human history. His idea was to present to God the fruit of his own efforts in the hope of acceptance. There can be no doubt as to his zeal. He ploughed and planted, tilled and reaped with aching back and perspiring brow. At harvest time he decked his altar with fragrant flowers and golden grain. It represented salvation by works — his works. His offering was rejected instantly by God as totally unacceptable. In the first place, it was the fruit of the ground cursed by God because of sin. In the second place, it failed to take adequate account of the radical and ruinous nature of sin. Indeed, it was an added evidence of the lawlessnes of sin, since it ignored the divine decree that ordained that God be approached only by blood. To attempt to approach God on the basis of works when He has passed verdict on man with the words “there is none that doeth good” is the very epitome of lawlessness, rebellion and unbelief. “God shall bring every work into judgment.”
Salvation by works is at the root of every false religion. Man is convinced he can work his way to heaven. “Nothing in my hand I bring” is the cry of the repentant believer. “Something in my hand I bring” is the root idea of all false ways of salvation. Man believes salvation can be earned by self-denial and penance, by fasts and pilgrimages, by alms and charity. God will bring all such work into judgment. When man’s best effort is weighed in the balances by an omniscient God, it will soon be found wanting.
There is only one work acceptable to God. That work is the finished work of Christ wrought out on our behalf at Calvary. In this work we can rest. It is gold, tried in the fire. To benefit from that work all we need is faith.