In Chapter 5 "The Scriptures and Good Works" of Profiting from the Word, A.W. Pink considers how the Word's teaching about God and Christ, its reproofs and corrections for sin, and its instruction in connection with prayer furnish the Christian unto all good works. As part of my family devotional study of this book, I've decided to post my thoughts chapter by chapter and to include portions from the book that are helping me improve my daily Bible reading and study. You can read my notes from Chapter 1 here, Chapter 2 here, Chapter 3 here, and Chapter 4 here.
The honest soul, with the help of the Holy Spirit, may ascertain whether or not his reading and study of the Word is really benefiting him by understanding:
- The Place of Good Works--"To suppose that the hearts of the regenerate are not as much and as effectually influenced with the authority and commands of God unto obedience as they were given in order unto their justification, is to ignore what true faith is, and what are the arguments and motives whereby the minds of Christians are principally affected and constrained. Moreover it is to lose sight of the inseparable connection which God has made between our justification and our sanctification: to suppose that one of these may be without the other is to overthrow the whole Gospel."
- The Necessity of Good Works--"All would like to go to heaven, but who among the multitudes of professing Christians are really willing and determined to walk that narrow way which alone leads thereto? It is at this point that we may discern the precise place which good works have in connection with salvation. They do not merit it, yet they are inseparable from it. They do not procure a title to heaven, yet they are among the means which God has appointed for His people’s getting there. In no sense are good works the procuring cause of eternal life, but they are part of the means (as are the Spirit’s work within us and repentance, faith and obedience by us) conducing to it."
- The Design of Good Works--"The 'good works' are not for the directing attention to ourselves, but to Him who has wrought them in us. They are to be of such a character and quality that even the ungodly will know they proceed from some higher source than fallen human nature."
- The Nature of Good Works--"Supposing that what men regard as good works God will approve of too, they remain in the darkness of their sin-blinded understandings; nor can any convince them of their error, till the Holy Spirit quickens them into newness of life, bringing them out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. Then it will appear that only those are good works which are done in obedience to the will of God (Rom 6:16), from a principle of love to Him (Heb 10:24), in the name of Christ (Col 3:17), and to the glory of God by Him (1Co 10:31)."
- The True Source of Good Works--"The unregenerate have no power to perform works in a spiritual manner, and therefore it is written, “there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom 3:12). Nor are they able to: they are “not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be” (Rom 8:7). Hence, even the ploughing of the wicked is sin (Pro 21:4). Nor are believers able to think a good thought or perform a good work of themselves (2Co 3:5): it is God who works in them “both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phi 2:13)."
- The Great Importance of Good Works--"Condensing as far as possible: “good works” are of great importance because by them God is glorified (Mat 5:16), by them the mouths of those who speak against us are closed (1Pe 2:12), by them we evidence the genuineness of our profession of faith (Jam 2:13-17)."
- The True Scope of Good Works--"This is so comprehensive as to include the discharge of our duties in every relationship in which God has placed us. It is interesting and instructive to note the first “good works” in Holy Writ, namely the anointing of the Saviour by Mary of Bethany (Mat 26:10; Mar 14:6)."
Mr. Pink leaves us with the following application of good works: "'That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work' (Col 1:10). The bringing up (not 'dragging' up!) of children, lodging (spiritual) strangers, washing the saints’ feet (ministering to their temporal comforts), and relieving the afflicted (1Ti 5:10) are spoken of as 'good works.' Unless our reading and study of the Scriptures is making us better soldiers of Jesus Christ, better citizens of the country in which we sojourn, better members of our earthly homes (kinder, gentler, more unselfish), 'thoroughly furnished unto all good works,' it is profiting us little or nothing."
"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen," (Heb. 13:20-21).