Works, Good

The old objection against the doctrine of salvation by grace,
that it does away with the necessity of good works, and lowers
the sense of their importance (Rom. 6), although it has been
answered a thousand times, is still alleged by many. They say if
men are not saved by works, then works are not necessary. If the
most moral of men are saved in the same way as the very chief of
sinners, then good works are of no moment. And more than this,
if the grace of God is most clearly displayed in the salvation
of the vilest of men, then the worse men are the better.

The objection has no validity. The gospel of salvation by
grace shows that good works are necessary. It is true,
unchangeably true, that without holiness no man shall see the
Lord. "Neither adulterers, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor
drunkards" shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Works are "good" only when, (1) they spring from the principle
of love to God. The moral character of an act is determined by
the moral principle that prompts it. Faith and love in the heart
are the essential elements of all true obedience. Hence good
works only spring from a believing heart, can only be wrought by
one reconciled to God (Eph. 2:10; James 2:18:22). (2.) Good
works have the glory of God as their object; and (3) they have
the revealed will of God as their only rule (Deut. 12:32; Rev.
22:18, 19).

Good works are an expression of gratitude in the believer's
heart (John 14:15, 23; Gal. 5:6). They are the fruits of the
Spirit (Titus 2:10-12), and thus spring from grace, which they
illustrate and strengthen in the heart.

Good works of the most sincere believers are all imperfect,
yet like their persons they are accepted through the mediation
of Jesus Christ (Col. 3:17), and so are rewarded; they have no
merit intrinsically, but are rewarded wholly of grace.