Eph 2:8-10  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 

If the works Paul is speaking of are works of the Law / Torah that do not merit salvation, then should the good works Paul is speaking of that are before ordained to be walked in be understood as referring to the Law/Torah as well?

The wording of the "New Covenant" says:

Heb 8:10  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 

Which is quote from Jer 31:33 which in Hebrew uses the phrase את־תורתי (Ath- TORaTI) "My Law". This has always been a phase which meant YHWH's Law, as in the Law of Moses / the Pentateuch.


4 Answers 4


That is a common misunderstanding that He is going to write the Law of Moses, "HaTorah" upon our hearts. Most people fail to fully understand the verse before it, Jeremiah 31:32. He plainly declared that it would NOT be like the Law that He gave to our fathers when they left Egypt... which is the Law of Moses.

They say otherwise, or that He has given us a "revamped" Old Covenant. No, this is a New Covenant and it is based upon better promises. This is one where He actually gives us a new heart, and a new spirit. It is the Law of the Spirit, the Law of Love that He writes upon our heart. You do not want to steal, kill, nor commit adultery with your neighbor's wife if you are walking in the Law of love. It is not something that has to be written on paper nor taught. It is the Law of the spirit versus the works of the flesh.

*Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

*9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and IF THERE BE ANY OTHER COMMANDMENT, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

*10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law

He did not list all the other laws here, neither the rest of the Torah. It is all fulfilled by walking in the Law of Love.

You asked "WHAT ARE THE GOOD WORKS OF EPHESIANS 2:8-10 ? Walking in faith, which worketh by love are the good works and they spring forth automatically because of the change that He has made in our hearts and spirit, not because of a written law. The Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith, but once faith is come WE ARE NO LONGER UNDER A SCHOOLMASTER.(Galatians 3:24,25) For ye are NOT under the law, but under grace, which is "unmerited favor" you didn't earn it.

The Gentiles didn't have the Torah, but they still had good works without the Torah.

*Romans 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

*15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;

The Law of love does not tell me that I need to grow my beard to be loving my neighbor. It does not tell me that I have to worry about where a woman on her period may have sat or touched so I don't become unclean. It is a new and living way that is easy to follow by walking in faith which worketh by love.

As far as Sabbath goes, Hebrews chapter 4 shows me that every day is Holy unto God and that I have entered into His Shabbat by faith. I esteem every day unto the Lord.

Galatians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

  • The scripture reference says " not like the covenant I made with their fathers..." Not " law I made...": Those are 2 completely different things. Also, the section of Ephesians says " before ordained", the is prior ?
    – Lowther
    Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 12:32
  • 1
    That is completely preposterous. If you did a simple word search of "covenant" you will see many that prove that it is one and the same. Exodus 24:8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words. ***I don't understand what you are trying to say about Ephesians. Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 20:36
  • Exodus 34:27 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 20:48
  • I don't think this is a forum for argumentation, but a covenant is different from the law. They maybe related in that both are in the ' legal' realm but they are not the same.
    – Lowther
    Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 19:05
  • For instance, consider: Galatians 3:17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made... If you swap covenant and law this lesson in incomprehensible, and Paul would be teach against his very point.
    – Lowther
    Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 19:05

Ephesians 2:8-10 needs to be considered in the light of the verses before it.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Paul isn't just referring to works of the Law: he's referring to what the author of Hebrews calls dead work in chapter 6:

Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith in God, (Hebrews 6:1)

In Paul's mind, a dead work is something done by humans in sin, regardless of whether it is moral or not.

Dead works are described in the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican.

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Here we see the root of dead works: pride; and the root of faith: humility. The reason why dead works are dead is because they come from a desire of selfishness and hubris. Even the best shows of generosity without faith and love (note how the Pharisee despises the publican), are dead works.


Christians are not under The Mosaic Laws:-

NWT Romans 10:4 "For Christ is the end of the Law, so that everyone exercising faith may have righteousness."


Christians do The Works of Christ. Here are some examples

NWT John 6:28, 29 "So they said to him: “What must we do to carry out the works of God?” 29 In answer Jesus said to them: “This is the work of God, that you exercise faith in the one whom he sent.”

NWT "Romans 15:16 "...for me to be a public servant of Christ Jesus to the nations. I am engaging in the holy work of the good news of God, so that these nations might be an acceptable offering, sanctified with holy spirit."

NWT 2 Timothy 4:5 "You, though, keep your senses in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelizer, fully accomplish your ministry.

NWT Revelation 19:10 "I am only a fellow slave of you and of your brothers who have the work of witnessing concerning Jesus. Worship God! For the witness concerning Jesus is what inspires prophecy.. . ."

NWT 1 Timothy 2:9, 10 "Likewise, the women should adorn themselves in appropriate dress, with modesty and soundness of mind, not with styles of hair braiding and gold or pearls or very expensive clothing, 10 but in the way that is proper for women professing devotion to God, namely, through good works."

NWT Hebrews 6:10 "For God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name by ministering and continuing to minister to the holy ones."

Just a few.

  • I appreciate your answer, but it does not offer a better answer as to what the " Good works before ordained" is speaking of, as "the Torah", however is directly understood by exegesis and it fits into several places where the Torah says " you shall walk in them". None of the things quoted in the new testament Scriptures you quoted are "new" concepts of Yhwh's law, but for the gentiles way of life, for instance 1 Timothy goes on to reference the Law in Genesis : 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
    – Lowther
    Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 12:50
  • Also, your answer pre assumes (eisegesis) "Christians are not under The Mosaic Laws:- ", and thus does not explain the text. As well, what is the " not of works " referencing? Just stating the facts... Thanks again!
    – Lowther
    Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 12:54

If the good works meant as the works of the law which can no longer justify, since the law covenant has been finished. The constant commands to do good works would be contradictory to the teachings that works of the law are dead and lead to severence from the grace or liberty covenant. Galatians 5. Good works mean moral works of commandments, the general law of God that goes beyond Moses.

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