A Little Time With The 1689: Day 221

Day 221

Of Good Works.

Chapter 16, Paragraph 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.”

Scripture Lookup

Job 9:2, 3

Galatians 5:17

Luke 17:10


Supererogation. Not a word used in everyday conversation. Today’s paragraph from the LBCF contains the verb form, “supererogate”, and for the average reader that word stands out among all the ordinary ones used. What in the world does that mean? Thankfully, dictionaries come to our aid. According to Webster’s, supererogation is “the act of performing more than is required by duty, obligation, or need”.

There are no overachievers when it comes to doing good works. You could be the most pious regenerate believer, filling every moment with obedience to God’s commands, and still not go above and beyond what He requires. The duty which we owe to God is such that those who still have remaining corruption of sin can never surpass its requirements. The notion that any Christian could supererogate the commands of God is absurd.

Roman Catholicism, however, teaches that not only can one do more than is required by God, she can also bank those good works to the account of others. Supererogation, according to Rome, is possible and a reality. However, to claim that believers can achieve more than what God requires is to fail to appreciate the extent of corruption that remains with us. Such a view also fails to recognize the sole work of Christ as our mediator. We must be careful to not rob Christ of any of His glory!

Questions to Consider

  • Have you ever thought that anyone could be so virtuous as to go beyond God’s requirements?

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