Archive for the ‘good works’ Category

Why good works will not bring us to heaven

September 18, 2011

Every sinner is insolvent; sinful man has run out the whole stock of nature, and is become a bankrupt, and has nothing to offer by way of composition; nor has he any righteousness to answer for him, nor any works of righteousness which deserve that name: and if he had, these are nothing in point of payment: for a debt of sin cannot be discharged by a debt of obedience; since God has a prior right to the latter; and in paying it, a man does but what is his duty. Sin being committed against an infinite God, contracts the nature of an infinite debt, which cannot be paid off by a finite creature. Christ only was able to pay this debt, and he has done it for his people; and without an interest in his blood, righteousness, and satisfaction, every debtor is liable to be cast, and will be cast into the prison of hell, there to lie till the uttermost farthing of the ten thousand talents is paid, which will be to all eternity.

John Gill on Matthew 18.25

No one is saved because of good works, but no one is saved without good works

June 5, 2010

No one is saved because of good works, but no one is saved without good works

Goldsworthy Trilogy, 2008, p.93, note

as touching to please God, there is no work better than another…whether thou be an apostle or a shoemaker…thou art a kitchen page and washest thy master’s dishes, another is an Apostle and preacheth the Word of God

November 15, 2009

…as touching to please God, there is no work better than another…whether thou be an apostle or a shoemaker…thou art a kitchen page and washest thy master’s dishes, another is an Apostle and preacheth the Word of God. …Now if thou compare deed to deed there is difference betwixt washing of dishes and preaching of the Word of God. But as touching to please God none at all.

William Tyndale, Daniel D William, Tyndale, Yale U P 1994, New Haven and London p167/8.

Christians in their effectual calling, are not called to idleness, but to labor in God’s vineyard, and spend their day in doing a great and laborious service

October 31, 2009

All Christ’s peculiar people do not only do good works, but are zealous of good works, (Tit 2:14) No man can do the service of two masters at once. They that are God’s true servants do give up themselves to his service, and make it as it were their whole work, therein employing their whole hearts, and the chief of their strength. (Phil 3:13) “This one thing I do.” Christians in their effectual calling, are not called to idleness, but to labor in God’s vineyard, and spend their day in doing a great and laborious service. All true Christians comply with this call (as is implied in its being an effectual call), and do the work of Christians.

Jonathan Edwards

Edwards, Jonathan (1750). A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections: In Three Parts. Part 3:XII, ppg. 6.

By faith are we saved only, in believing the promises. And though faith be never without love and good works, yet is our saving imputed neither to love nor unto good works, but unto faith only

October 31, 2009

By faith are we saved only, in believing the promises. And though faith be never without love and good works, yet is our  saving imputed neither to love nor unto good works, but unto faith only. For love and works are under the law, which requireth perfection and the ground and fountain of the heart, and damneth all imperfectness. Now is faith under the promises, which damn not; but give pardon, grace, mercy, favor, and whatsoever is contained in the promises.

William Tyndale, A PATHWAY INTO THE HOLY SCRIPTURE,

Good works do not make a good man, but a good man does good works

October 31, 2009

Good works do not make a good man, but a good man does good works.

Martin Luther, Dillenberger, John, ed. Martin Luther: Selections From His Writings. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1961, 69

Faith is a living, restless thing. It cannot be inoperative. We are not saved by works; but if there be no works, there must be something amiss with faith.

Martin Luther, Bainton, Roland H. Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther. New York: New American Library, 1950; 1978, p.259

259

The Law is Powerless to Change us

September 4, 2009

Benjamin Franklin made 13 virtues for himself, including: Silence (‘speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation’), frugality, industry (‘lose not time; be always employed in something useful’) and tranquility (‘be not disturbed at trifles or at accidents common or unavoidable’).

He set up a book with a page for each virtue, lining a column in which to record “defects.” Choosing a different virtue to work on each week, he daily noted every mistake, starting over every 13 weeks in order to cycle through the list four times a year.

For many decades Franklin carried his little book with him, striving for a clean thirteen-week cycle. As he made progress, he found himself struggling with yet another defect. “There is perhaps no one of natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it. Struggle with it. Stifle it. Mortify it as much as one pleases. It is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself….even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.

Phillip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace, Zondervan, 1997, p. 35

…These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Col.2.23

The law is spiritual

September 4, 2009

The little word “law” you must not take in human fashion, as a teaching about what works are to be done or not done. That is the way it is with human laws — human laws can be fulfilled by works, even though there is no heart in them.

But God JUDGES according to what is at the bottom of the heart, and cannot be satisfied with mere works. For even though you keep the law outwardly, with works, from fear of punishment of desire for reward, nevertheless, you do all this without willingness and pleasure, and without love for the law, but rather with unwillingness, under compulsion and if the law were not there you would gladly do otherwise. The conclusion is that you hate the law.

For this reason Paul says the law is spiritual. What is that? If the law were a human law, it could be satisfied with works; but since it is spiritual, no one can satisfy it, UNLESS all that you do is done from the bottom of the heart.

But nobody has a heart like that. Only the Holy Spirit can give a man such a heart. Thus it comes about that faith alone justifies a man and fulfils the law, for faith brings the Holy Spirit through the merits of Christ.

Martin  Luther, Preface to Romans

Guilt and works (of penance)

August 25, 2009

If you go to Uttoxeter today there is a monument to Samuel Johnson. Johnson’s father ran a bookstall on market, and young Samuel once refused to help out on the stall. When Johnson was older, he stood in the rain (without a hat) as a penance for his failure to assist his father.

His act could not atone for his guilt but yet he felt the need to do it. Penance is not repentance from sin.

Faith and Works

May 28, 2009

It is faith alone that saves us, but not a bare faith. When a horse beareth a saddle and a man thereon, we may well say that the horse only and alone beareth the saddle, but we do not mean the saddle empty, and no man thereon.

William Tyndale

The Reformation In England, By J. H. Merle D’Aubigné
(Originally published in 1866)
Reprint by Banner of Truth Trust
1962 (first edition). p.396