Good works are only such as God hath commanded in His holy Word, and not such as, without the warrant
thereof, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, or upon any pretence of good intention.
These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and
lively faith: and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their
brethren, adorn the profession of the Gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose
workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto; that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may
have the end, eternal life.
Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ. And
that they may be enabled thereunto, besides 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: 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.
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 duty they are bound to do.
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, but when we
have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants; and because, as they are
good, they proceed from His Spirit; 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.
Yet notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are
accepted in Him, not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreproveable in God’s sight;
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.
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: yet, because they proceed not from a heart purified by
faith; nor are done in a right manner according to the Word; nor to a right end, the glory of God; they
are therefore sinful, and cannot please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God. And yet, their
neglect of them is more sinful, and displeasing unto God.