“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit”, Tit.3:5 

Washing comes from regeneration. Sin peels off any man who is regenerated from within by God, just like dirt would come off gold which has become hot. And regeneration is done by bringing and putting into the light and acknowledgement sinfulness by sinfulness, and not merely an overall, believed regeneration which maintains sin close by and in the range of sight, or even by hoping upon a future change after death because one believes in Christ now. We believe now to be changed now. There is no forgiveness without that kind of conversion having been worked out for real. Regeneration has a kind of washing which people quite often avoid by taking in and accepting an illusionary kind of forgiveness which allows them to be as they have always been before and by avoiding recognizing how they are because they do certain things they regard as Biblical or as good works. There is no forgiveness without this kind of ceasing from sin and there is no ceasing from sin without this regeneration God works in the hidden parts of man. It is man who ceases from sin because God has made it possible for him now through Christ.

The other gross mistake most Bible teachers give in to nowadays is to state that, whatever we do to stop sinning, is to work against faith since most of them either wish to carry on sinning or wish to keep the sheep paralysed and bound to them. Whoever moves away from them, even if it is towards God, is considered a heretic. In reality, faith that saves works hard to save personally and to keep saved. It just has another way of working things out. This manna is hidden from fake theologians and ministers, some of which preach about it, even.

There are yet some other reasons why the works of man are abominable and sad, though. Just the other day I saw a man half drunk, drinking beer in a corner of a town where I live. Someone in a wheelchair came by and he eagerly helped where his help was not needed. Then he felt amazingly well after doing what he wished to believe was a good deed from him towards someone else. He went back to his beer very happy and motivated to drink some more. Then I wondered why this man would do such a thing and what led to his joy? And praying about it almost unconsciously, and having received an answer from my Teacher and Master right away, I had this clear picture in my mind concerning the reasons why he would do such a hypocritical deed he saw as the best of deeds; and following that, this verse came up to me with a mightier meaning: “not by works, lest one should boast…”. Just after that, again, I saw a fuller and clearer picture of what was happening inside any sinner who is away from God. There is no repenting from bad deeds, vices and sins while “sacrificial” works are brought up to counterwork the special stings conscience agrees to and struggles with to bring forth to the sinner’s mind just how bad he is, something which man simply denies or works hard to ignore. These works man does are specially brought to life to avoid facing regeneration by the astounding realization of being sinful. Also, because man is accused from within and thinks his mind and thoughts are known outside, he tries to get rid of accusations by a counterfeiting work of showing forth good deeds. He tries to convince himself by showing off towards others. It is as if a good deed grants him a break from something. The opinion from man has a mighty effect upon a convicted sinner since it manufactures an inner opinion about self. And to show forth good deeds creates a mind which does not dare to feel like acknowledging sins. It instead maintains the belief he is a good man in no need of acknowledging his sins to anyone whatsoever, but that he has rather to hide them and cover them with some deed. It is important to him to have a profile and an image of goodness worked out in his own mind so sinning may carry on inside without being spotted, annoyed, startled or hindered. Hindrances are annoying to man. And quite often God uses them as a last resource to convict man away from sin or to show God is not with the sinner as he supposes, so man may react positively to that.  

Besides, the sinner is bringing those deeds up for mere self-convenience, precisely while conscience is warring to show his mind and heart to him. The levels of efforts are one the same and work directly to resist either conscience or God within. Man working towards his own salvation is a special way to resist God. Just as people judge others by the sins they have to feel justified, they also use this way of glorying to finish and complete a self-convincing work they work hard to obtain. Sinners try to work to be self-convincing, annoying the idea of admitting to be a sinner or a trespasser of the Laws of God – those laws he has been born with. The outcome is works which are often vomited into the self-pleasing mind man uses to believe he is well thought of, or just thought of and seen. By being seen he seals with good works and through an annoying self-denial that he believes deserves becoming rewarded. He just believes he is too good to need to repent and must be rewarded for whatever he does. "Whatever you would gain from me, It is a gift to God", Mat 15:5. Usually it is man who thinks and believes good things about himself and consequently bad things about some others. Man recommends himself daily. Even when his works are out of proportion, too polished and too enhanced, many times out of time or out of need too, he always finds a manner of recycling whatever he does to his own benefit alone. He just can’t see he overworks to lie.

To believe good things about self, or to take them for granted, enhances any sinner’s world and mind for him and from there he gains his nourishment and energy to go on as he has always done. Just like people who are bitter see in bitterness the motivation and the justification to sin out of revenge, they have this peculiar way of stabilising and establishing the soul within a huge lack of peace any man tries to keep out of himself at any cost. There is a mixture of loving sin and a wish to carry on the old way while having this image of a good man bubbling from inside, something which drives man to get into the sheepfold but never through the door. People often fast and pray so they do not have to repent from specific sins; or to avoid giving back stolen things; or to skip asking for forgiveness from people and from God.   

God is not against works, as many preach nowadays. The condemnation is awaiting whoever preaches that, whatever the denomination they belong to. Many preach as if it is a sin or a false faith to do the work of God as faithful as it is done in heaven. In fact, God is only against working which helps the sinner to avoid realizing he is a degraded sinner and He is not against works which reflect the new nature God gives for free. And many people become tired out, worn out and deeply desperate when preachers uphold a spotless living while preaching. Preachers often state people should not become that confused and worn out by the struggle against sin caused by their preaching. But, the truth is people get tired because they attempt to do God’s works having sinful self alive and close by while doing. They become tired and worn out because self is still living and hindering them and not because it is wrong to do God’s work as it is done in heaven. What tires man out is self and not works. Let self die and the yoke of Christ will be lighter than a feather, as natural as nothing else can ever be.

The works of holy men and women are of the kind that are too natural to brag about. The holy man does not live by the enforcement of the Law, not believing to have a heart against it nor it against the heart, because he is a new nature by itself which sticks by the Laws of God naturally and which works by what it is through the blessing and the inner workings of God without having a law of commandments coming from man – as long as he keeps close to God and as long as his relationship with God is mutual and not from his own mind alone. Man’s relationship with God should be like the ladder Jacob saw, where blessedness ascends and descends. Whatever man adds unto God’s nature within him then, is superficial.

Man uses glorying to cover up his sins, and to avoid bringing them to the light to exterminate them by that peculiar power Light has as an effect upon sin and especially upon sinfulness (against the origin of all sinning). This is one of the reasons why God asks to give Him all glory, since man cannot take glory without sinning, but God can. God demands all glory that is good and according to heaven, not only because He is indeed glorious and outstanding, but especially because man uses glorying to cover up and to avoid becoming holy and regenerated from those things he takes for granted and craves after or worries about. Man may fall too by taking glory when clean. There is no man who worries without being selfish and unbelieving. Selfishness and unbelief are mates because unbelief was born from the day God separated man from Himself. Man started believing God was not with him and has learned a way of thinking and of reasoning things out without God, He being far away. When the sinner comes to God he needs to change his mind too, he needs to live and stick by God without this mind sin and self have arranged for him while being far away from God. The mind the sinner has will always cause man to stumble and man will only remain standing close to God by denying the old ways he learned from those times God was not with him. Then it was true that God was far away. But now and because God was not with selfishness, it does not mean He won’t be with a man who lives without living for himself anymore and who does not claim any reward for self for being in self-denial for too long. God provides for those who are not denying anymore to be living for God, such who live for the right causes God has planted and nourished inside their hearts without a thought to deny whatever does not bother them anymore were they only truly honest and perceiving.

Works are not bad. It is already bad that natural things, the normal living for Living beings, are considered to be works. How much worse is it for man to stumble over those blocks conscience tries to bar man’s way with to use the things he knows could be either good things to him, or normal things to regenerated beings after all, to cover up sins. The good works the Bible talks about are those which become normal happenings and consequences from the creation we are. Once made free, if we are made free from self indeed, we start to have that special and forgotten freedom to be and to do according to God and according to the godliness we were created for and recreated from. The works God is against, besides some others, are those which serve to camouflage any sinner’s holy torment behind a cloak of praying, of donating, or of studying for the ministry, whatever reason he may uphold for doing that. Even people who are indeed called to work for God may come to work for sinful purposes after they consent to go to a Bible school. May God preserve us from good works which work against God and not from those we do with Him. Whoever gathers without Him, scatters. Amen.

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José Mateus