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The Blue Letter Bible

Baptist Confession of 1689: Of Good Works

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Paragraph 1. Good works are only such as God has commanded in his Holy Word, (Mic 6:8; Hbr 13:21); and not such as without the warrant thereof are devised by men out of blind zeal, or upon any pretense of good intentions, (Mat 15:9; Isa 29:13).

Paragraph 2. These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith, (Jam 2:18, 22); and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, (Psa 116:12-13); strengthen their assurance, (1Jo 2:3, 5; 2Pe 1:5-11); edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, (Mat 5:16); stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glory God, (1Ti 6:1; 1Pe 2:15; Phl 1:11); whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, (Eph 2:10); that having their fruit unto holiness they may have the end eternal life, (Rom 6:22).

Paragraph 3. Their ability to do good works is not all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ, (Jhn 15:4-5); 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, (2Co 3:5; Phl 2:13); yet they are 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, (Phl 2:12; Hbr 6:11-12; Isa 64:7).

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, (Job 9:2-3; Gal 5:17; Luk 17:10).

Paragraph 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, (Rom 3:20; Eph 2:8-9; Rom 4:6); but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants; and because they are good they proceed from his Spirit, (Gal 5:22-23); 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 punishment, (Isa 64:6; Psa 43:2).

Paragraph 6. Yet not withstanding the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him, (Eph 1:5; 1Pe 1:5); not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable 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. (Mat 25:21, 23; Hbr 6:10).

Paragraph 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 to others, (2Ki 10:30; 1Ki 21:27, 29); yet because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith, (Gen 4:5; Hbr 11:4, 6); nor are done in a right manner according to the Word, (1Co 13:1); nor to a right end, the glory of God, (Mat 6:2, 5); they are therfore sinful, and cannot please God, nor make a man meet to receive the grace from God, (Amo 5:21-22; Rom 9:16; Tts 3:5); and yet their neglect for them is more sinful and displeasing to God, (Job 21:14-15; Mat 25:41-43).

DISCLAIMER: Creeds, catechisms, and confessions do not replace Scripture, nor the authority of Scripture. The creeds, catechisms and confessions are included herein for purposes of reference. Blue Letter Bible aims to provide resources that cover a range of traditional, orthodox, conservative Christianity, for the benefit of all of our users. The inclusion of the creeds, catechisms, and confessions does not necessarily mean that the ministry agrees with each and every point in each, since some are coming from different Christian perspectives of faith, practice and worship. The user may find them useful as tools to assist in understanding or teaching the Scriptures, since they were drafted based upon Scripture. Used in their proper context, they can continue to aid us as much today as they did for our forefathers in centuries past.

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