Why Must We Still Do Good Works?

Date: AM
Text: Ephesians 4, 5; Lord's Day 32
Psalters: 256, 141, 208, 313
  1. The question.
    1. The question arises.
      1. First, because justification excludes all human works: “without any merit,” “merely of grace,” “through Christ.”
      2. Second, our human nature is Arminian and our earthly relationships are based on works.
    2. We are taught that even though we are not saved BY our good works, we must still do them.
    3. The Heidelberg’s question indicates the conviction that Scripture demands that those saved in Jesus do good works.
  2. Scripture is not indifferent to good works.
    1. God shows that what one believes and how one lives are to harmonize (4:1; Col. 3:1-8,17; Titus 1:1; 2:1,14).
      1. Those who live in known sin habitually and impenitently show themselves to be non-christian (5:3-7; Gal. 5:19-21).
      2. This is different than sinning and hating it and myself for my sin, for everyone stumbles (James 3:2; I John 1:8).
      3. When the Catechism teaches that good works are essential, it does not mean that good works merit.
    2. Good works are the result of a great change God has made in those He saves (I Cor. 6:15,17,19).
      1. When God elected, when Jesus redeemed, and when the Spirit regenerates, God had our good works in this plan.
      2. The saved are renewed by His Spirit after His own image so we are made to be like Him (I Cor. 6:11b; Romans 8:29).
  3. Why we do good works.
    1. First, we are commanded to do so.
    2. Second, we do good works because faith produces good works (James 2).
    3. Third, we do good works because love wants to do what our Loved One wants; to please our Father.
    4. Fourth, we do good works because we are so grateful for the free salvation given to someone so undeserving.
    5. Finally, we do good works to glorify God (Matt. 5:16; John 15:8).