“Adorning the Profession of the gospel- Christians Doing Good” – 6-11-2020

In these days of turmoil and angst, it is vital that Christians commit to doing good works. Thankfully, we have a rich tradition that has considered the beauty of Christians doing good works. The puritans are very helpful. See the citations below from John Owen and the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 16. The confession in section 2 below lists numerous reasons that believers should do good works, one that I find particularly moving is that they adorn our profession of the gospel. The good works are not the gospel. As adornment to the gospel, our good works are like an apt accessory in our outfit. They make the gospel, “pop” when others hear our gospel. The John Owen quote dovetails with sections 5 & 6 of the confession’s chapter 16. I hope that these help you! What did you learn about what the bible teaches about “good works”? Please comment and share.

John Owen once wrote,

“Believers obey Christ as the one whom our obedience is accepted by God. Believers know all their duties are weak, imperfect, and unable to abide in God’s presence. Therefore they look to Christ as the one who bears the iniquity of their holy things, who adds incense to their prayers, gathers out all the weeds from their duties and makes them acceptable to God.”
― John Owen, Communion with God

Chapter 16 of the Westminster Confession of Faith titled “Of Good Works” says.

Section 1.) Good works are only such as God hath commanded in His holy Word,(1) and not such as, without the warrant thereof, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, or upon any pretence of good intention.(2)

(1) Mic 6:8Ro 12:2Heb 13:21.

(2) Mt 15:9Isa 29:131Pe 1:18Ro 10:2.————————————

Section 2.) These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith:(1) and by them believers manifest their thankfulness,(2) strengthen their assurance,(3) edify their brethren,(4) adorn the profession of the Gospel,(5) stop the mouths of the adversaries,(6) and glorify God,(7) whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto;(8) that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end eternal life.(9)

(1) Jas 2:18,22.

(2) Ps 116:12,131Pe 2:9.

(3) 1Jn 2:3,52Pe 1:5-10.

(4) 2Co 9:2Mt 5:16.

(5) Tit 2:5,9,10,11,121Ti 6:1.

(6) 1Pe 2:15.

(7) 1Pe 2:12Php 1:11Jn 15:8.

(8) Eph 2:10.

(9) Rom. 6:22.————————————

Section 3.) Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ.(1) And that they may be enabled thereunto, beside the graces they have already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit to work in them to will and to do of His good pleasure:(2) yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.(3)

(1) Jn 15:4,5,6Eze 36:26,27.

(2) Php 2:13Php 4:132Co 3:5.

(3) Php 2:12Heb 6:11,122Pe 1:3,5,10,11Isa 64:72Ti 1:6Ac 26:6,7Jude 20,21.————————————

Section 4.) They who, in their obedience, attain to the greatest height which is possible in this life, are so far from being able to supererogate, and to do more than God requires, as that they fall short of much which in the duty they are bound to do.(1)

(1) Lk 17:10Ne 13:22Job 9:2,3Gal 5:17————————————

Section 5.) We cannot, by our best works, merit pardon of sin, or eternal life, at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come, and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom by them, we can neither profit nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins;(1) but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants;(2) and because, as they are good, they proceed from His Spirit;(3) and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s judgment.(4)

(1) Ro 3:20Ro 4:2,4,6Eph 2:8,9Tit 3:5,6,7Ro 8:18Ps 16:2Job. 22:2,3Job 35:7,8.

(2) Lk 17:10.

(3) Gal 5:22,23.

(4) Isa 64:6Gal 5:17Ro 7:15,18Ps 143:2Ps 130:3.————————————

Section 6.) Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in Him;(1) not as though they were in this life wholly unblameable and unreprovable in God’s sight;(2) but that He, looking upon them in His Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.(3)

(1) Eph 1:61Pe 2:5Ex 28:38Ge 4:4Heb 11:4.

(2) Job 9:20Ps 143:2.

(3) Heb 13:20,212Co 8:12Heb 6:10Mt 25:21,23.————————————

Section 7.) Works done by unregenerate men, although, for the matter of them, they may be things which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others;(1) yet, because they proceed not from an heart purified by faith;(2) nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word;(3) nor to a right end, the glory of God;(4) they are therefore sinful, and cannot please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God.(5) And yet, their neglect of them is more sinful and displeasing unto God.(6)

(1) 2Ki 10:30,311Ki 21:27,29Php 1:15,16,18.

(2) Ge 4:5Heb 11:4,6.

(3) 1Co 13:3Isa 1:12.

(4) Mt 6:2,5,16.

(5) Hag 2:14Tit 1:15Am 5:21,22Hos 1:4Ro 9:16Tit 3:15.

(6) Ps 14:4Ps 36:3Job 21:14,15Mt 25:41,42,43,45Mt 23:3.