Nope, There is a difference between . . . .


Two PinsAnother Rhetorical Technique which you can add to your “Topoi” notebook is illustrated by a message of Tony Evans (August 15th, 2006)

The Big Idea:

“God redeemed you because He had an intent to specifically use you to minister.”


God redeemed you because he has an intent to use you — for His purposes — to further His agenda as part of the process of you being conformed to His Son.

I like the way second Timothy Chapter 1 Verse 9 says it — Paul writing to his son in the ministry — Timothy — wants him to know about God who has saved us and called us with the holy calling.

Not according to our works  –  because you don’t get saved by works – but according to  His own purpose — and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.  God saved you for his own purpose.

Why do you seem to be blocked every time you try to turn a corner — because you are going after your own purpose.  But He didn’t save you for your own purpose.  He is not even interested in blessing your own purpose.

He saved you for His own purpose and that is the only purpose that He is interested in.

He says remember — it’s not about you.

Now does that mean you don’t matter  — You matter a great deal.  Infact God’s grace has given you an eternal weight worth of matter.

Even Jesus who was trying to model this for us when He was on earth he told His disciples in John chapter 4 verse 34 — He says I have come to do my father’s will

He says it’s not about me — and I’m the son of God — If it could be about anybody, it could be about me, because I’m as good as God is.  I am perfect — but it’s not about me — it is about me pleasing my father.

So until this concept of being his workmanship becomes the driving force in your life — Until you stop trying to, I stop trying to, get God to help me do and be what I want to be — and decide I’m only interested in doing it being what he wants me to be — You got to canvas fighting with the painter.

So we are His workmanship.  We are created in Christ Jesus for good works — created in Christ Jesus, saved , when become a Christian you are created in Christ Jesus — you are now in Christ — that is your new reference point — Christ is everything now.  You are been recreated for good works.

Now let’s make sure we’re straight — you’re not saved by good works – – verse 8 and 9 – not by works — but you are saved for good works

We are created, we are saved — for the purpose of good works.  Please don’t misread that . . . .

He does not say you are saved for good things.

You’re saved for good works.

Now isn’t a good thing a good work?

Nope, two different things.

A good thing anybody can do.  You don’t have to be saved

You don’t have to be saved to do a good thing

  • sinners do good things
  • sinners build hospitals
  • sinner build orphanages
  • sinners help the poor
  • sinners are philanthropist
  • sinners volunteer for Peace Corps

those are good things.

but you don’t have to be a Christian . . . .

  • to help an old lady across the street
  • to help a blind person
  • to help someone who’s sick
  • that that’s just being a decent human being

that’s a good thing.

But he says only people who are created in Christ Jesus can do good works.

So what’s the difference between a good thing and a good work?

Well a good work is first of all . . . . is a divinely authored thing.  That is, it is a God thing.  It is something that God wants done.

The second aspect of a good work is that it benefits somebody other than you.  A good work is a God or divinely prescribe action — that benefits another — in such a way that God is glorified.

In order for a work — to become a good work — and not just a good thing — if God gets the glory for the activity that is done — it is a God thing.

In fact Matthew Chapter 16 says Let your light so shine that men will see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

In other words — a good work is something that benefits others and in particular the body of Christ — and I’ll explain that the moment —  and it benefits the family of God . — and it brings attention to God

a good work backs up and becomes a good thing when I deflect the glory for the work from God — back to me.



What Tony Evans is doing is drawing a distinction for his audience.  He is expanding on what it takes to be “a good work” by drawing a contrast with “doing good things.”

Whether or not you want to make such a distinction, Evan has chosen to do that.  He is going to add some content to his message and define good works in such a way as to differentiate “good works” from just doing “good things.”   He draws this distinction because he both sees them as different and because he wants to argue that even sinners can do (good things) but we as believers have been called to do (good works).  Some might draw that distinction differently — i.e. Only God’s people can do good works or good things because both can flow out of a right and proper motive, a selfless motive.

Nevertheless, we are looking at the rhetorical technique that Tony Evans uses within his message.  We can describe or quantify the technique and duplicate it when addressing other portions of Scripture which are even totally unconnected with the topic of which Evans is speaking.


The Conceptual Format: “Nope . . .  there is a real difference between _______ & ________”


  • instruction and understanding (Proverbs 1 – instruction — “Don’t let that pot of oil get over 300 degrees ” — tells you what to do, understanding tells you the why; it gives you the basis for the instruction  — ” If it gets much over 300 degrees it will ‘flash’ the oil and start a fire on the stove top.” )
  • confidence and courage
  • strong opinions and convictions
  • actions which may look very much alike to one who is _______  and one who is _____ . . . . . but there is a real difference between the motivation [one is motivated by . . . . and the other is motivated by . . . . – (law /grace)]
  • as a symbol of God’s grace or as an avenue of His grace (ordinances)
  • giving and give out of love
  • by good works and for good works
  • justification and sanctification
  • moved by conscience and moved by the Holy Spirit


Or let’s twist the technique a little and make the point that there are similarities.

Conceptual Format: “They do share some similarities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . but now here is where they part ways. . . .”

“Filled with the Spirit” and “be not drunk with wine” — They part ways when it comes to “being in control” of your words and actions and thoughts.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.