Of Good Works.
Chapter 16, Paragraph 3.
“Their ability to do good works is not 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 necessary an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them and to will, and to do, of his good pleasure; yet they are 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.”
2 Corinthians 3:5
Where do our good works come from? While we are enabled to will that which is good, the actions that result from that will have their origin in God.
Every good and perfect gift is from above… -James 1:17
The Holy Spirit works in us to will and to do His good pleasure. Besides all the wonderful gifts granted to us by His marvelous grace, the Spirit is necessary to influence us to perform good works. We are the ones who will to do good works, and we are the ones who do the good works, but we only will and do because of the influence of the Spirit.
Does the Spirit’s prominence in producing our good works mean we just sit back, relax, and only do good when “prompted” by the Spirit? That would certainly be an easy, thoughtless Christianity, but it is not Biblical. After all, we are told to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Work is not a bad word. We are called repeatedly to make efforts to produce good works. However, the impetus for good works is not derived from a sole effort on our part, but rests upon the Spirit in order to carry out that work. What does the next verse in Philippians 2 say?
…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure.
Thus we strive to stir up good works in ourselves and others, knowing that it is due to His divine power that we are able to do so.
If you’re not doing good works because you feel the Spirit hasn’t moved you, may I suggest that you read your Bible? As God’s word, Scripture is the only certain, sufficient and infallible rule of all saving obedience. Good works are only such as God has commanded in His word. Remember, the Spirit and the word dwelling in you sanctify you. Pray for the Spirit’s strength to press onward in obedience to all that Christ commands as your Head and King. Apply what you read in His word through the strength of the Spirit!
Questions to Consider
- How are you stirring up the grace of God in you to do good works?