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Confession 16.1. Good works are only such as God hath
commanded in His holy Word,(a) and not such as, without the warrant thereof,
are devised by men, out of blind zeal, or upon any pretence of good
(a) Micah 6:8; Rom. 12:2; Heb. 13:21.
(b) Matt. 15:9; Isa. 29:13; I Pet. 1:18; Rom. 10:2; John 16:2; I Sam. 15:21,
Confession 16.2. These good works, done in obedience to
God's commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith:(c)
and by them believers manifest their thankfulness,(d) strengthen their
assurance,(e) edify their brethren,(f) adorn the profession of the Gospel,(g)
stop the mouths of the adversaries,(h) and glorify God,(i) whose workmanship
they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto;(k) that, having their fruit unto
holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.(l)
(c) James 2:18, 22.
(d) Ps. 116:12, 13; I Pet. 2:9.
(e) I John 2:3, 5; II Pet. 1:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
(f) II Cor. 9:2; Matt. 5:16.
(g) Tit. 2:5, 9, 10, 11, 12; I Tim. 6:1.
(h) I Pet. 2:15.
(i) I Pet. 2:12; Phil. 1:11; John 15:8.
(k) Eph. 2:10.
(l) Rom. 6:22.
Confession 16.3. Their ability to do good works is not
at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ.(m) 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:(n) 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.(o)
(m) John 15:4, 5; Ezek. 36:26, 27.
(n) Phil. 2:13; Phil. 4:13; II Cor. 3:5.
(o) Phil. 2:12; Heb. 6:11, 12; II Pet. 1:3, 5, 10, 11; Isa. 64:7; II Tim. 1:6;
Acts 26:6, 7; Jude ver. 20, 21.
Confession 16.4. 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 duty they are bound to do.(p)
(p) Luke 17:10; Neh. 13:22; Job 9:2, 3; Gal. 5:17.
Confession 16.5. 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,(q) but when we have done all we can,
we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants;(r) and because, as
they are good, they proceed from His Spirit;(s) 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.(t)
(q) Rom. 3:20; Rom. 4:2, 4, 6; Eph. 2:8, 9; Tit. 3:5, 6, 7; Rom. 8:18;
Ps. 16:2; Job 22:2, 3; Job 35:7, 8.
(r) Luke 17:10.
(s) Gal. 5:22, 23.
(t) Isa. 64:6; Gal. 5:17; Rom. 7:15, 18; Ps. 143:2; Ps. 130:3.
Confession 16.6. Yet notwithstanding, the persons of
believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in
Him,(u) not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and
unreproveable in God's sight;(w) 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.(x)
(u) Eph. 1:6; I Pet. 2:5; Exod. 28:38; Gen. 4:4 with Heb. 11:4.
(w) Job. 9:20; Ps. 143:2.
(x) Heb. 13:20, 21; II Cor. 8:12; Heb. 6:10; Matt. 25:21, 23.
Confession 16.7. 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:(y) yet, because they proceed not
from a heart purified by faith;(z) nor are done in a right manner according to
the Word;(a) nor to a right end, the glory of God;(b) they are therefore
sinful, and cannot please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God.(c)
And yet, their neglect of them is more sinful, and displeasing unto God.(d)
(y) II Kings 10:30, 31; I Kings 21:27, 29; Phil. 1:15, 16, 18.
(z) Gen. 4:5 with Heb. 11:4; Heb. 11:6.
(a) I Cor. 13:3; Isa. 1:12.
(b) Matt. 6:2, 5, 16.
(c) Hag. 2:14; Tit. 1:15; Amos 5:22, 23; Hosea 1:4; Rom. 9:16; Titus 3:5.
(d) Ps. 14:4; Ps. 36:3; Job 21:14, 15; Matt. 25:41, 42, 43, 45; Matt. 23:23.