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Date:         Thu, 14 Sep 1995 09:32:33 +0200
Reply-To: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel 
Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel 
From: Teus Benschop 
Subject:      Catechism, 34
To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP 

Q.  Since we are saved merely of grace through Christ, why must we  then
yet do good works?
A. Not to merit heaven thereby (which Christ has done), but because this
is commanded me of God.

It is said that we are saved merely of grace through Christ. Some draw a
wrong conclusion, and say that good works are no longer necessary, since
Christ  has done all (they say). But let we not err. God has _commanded_
us  to do good works. Not to merit heaven thereby, but because it is His
will.  Those, who say that they are saved through Christ,  and  are  not
doing  good  works, prove thereby that they are not saved. For,  why  do
they forsake God's will, by neglecting good works? Scripture teaches us,
that  we  have  to  do good works. "We are His workmanship,  created  in
Christ  Jesus  unto good works, which God hath before ordained  that  we
should  walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10) The people who are saved through
Christ,  have  an extra reason to do good works. They are saved  through
Him, and will show their thankfulness in their conduct.

Q. What purpose then do your good works answer?
A.  That  I  may  thereby testify my thankfulness to  God  for  all  his
benefits,  and that he may be glorified by me; and that also  I  may  be
assured  of  the  sincerity of my faith, by good works,  as  the  fruits
thereof,  and  that my neighbours may be edified thereby and  gained  to

The question is: what purpose do our good works have? In the answer,  we
read four targets:
1. I testify my thankfulness to God for all His benefits.
    God  gave, and still gives many benefits to me. The greatest thereof
    is,  that He has saved me through Christ, in His free grace.  Should
    we  then  not show our thankfulness through our conduct? What  would
    it be, when we would forget Him, Who has given us so many benefits?
2. He is glorified by Me.
    The father is glorified, when His children bear much good fruit,  as
    Scripture  says: "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye  bear  much
    fruit."  (John 15:8) How is the Father glorified by our good  works?
    Herein,  that  the  people see that we bear  much  good  fruit,  not
    through  anything in us, but since the Father works  that  fruit  in
    us.  Formerly,  we were dead in sins and trespasses. But  after  the
    Father  has brought us to life, we began to bear good fruit.  Herein
    is  He glorified. He is the God, who brings forth the light out  the
3. I am assured of the sincerity of my faith, by those good works.
    Since  good works are the fruit of a sincere faith, I may be assured
    of  my own faith by the evidence thereof. Wicked people cannot bring
    forth good fruit; only renewed people can, through the hand of  God.
    That  is  what Peter says us: "Wherefore the rather, brethren,  give
    diligence  to  make your calling and election sure:  for  if  ye  do
    these  things, ye shall never fall:" (2 Peter 1:10) After Peter  has
    summed  up many good fruits, he says: "Give diligence, brethren,  to
    make  your  calling  and election sure." That  is:  be  diligent  in
    proving your election, and faith, through the good works.
4. My neighbours will be edified and gained to Christ.
    This  is  it,  what Christ said us: "Let your light so shine  before
    men,  that  they  may see your good works, and glorify  your  Father
    which  is  in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) When the people see one  doing
    good  works,  and  when  they see him like a light  shining  in  the
    darkness, the people will begin to think and to say: "Look,  he  has
    something  that we lack. He serves God. So, that must  be  something
    excellent. Look how he shines as a light. We nowhere see  that.  His
    God  must  be  the  true God. Let we also go with him,  and  let  we
    subject ourselves to the one true God".

Q. Shall they also be saved who do no good works?
A.  No; for the Scripture says, that neither fornicators, nor idolaters,
nor  adulterers,  nor  whoremongers,  nor  thieves,  nor  covetous,  nor
drunkards,  nor revilers, nor robbers, nor such like, shall inherit  the
kingdom of God, 1 Cor. 6:9 and 10, unless they turn to the Lord.

This  is  the truth: when any tree does not bring forth good  fruit,  he
will be thrown away. "And now also the axe is laid unto the root of  the
trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is  hewn
down,  and  cast  into the fire." (Matthew 3:10) A tree which  does  not
yield  fruit  is useless. It is better to cut it down, then  to  let  it
uselessly  cumber the ground. "Behold, these three years I come  seeking
fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the
ground?" (Luke 13:7)
     If  the people who do not good will be cut down, how much the  more
they  who are really wicked. If the useless people, who commit no  great
sins,  are  awaiting God's judgement, how much the  more  they  who  are
evildoers.   Fornicators,   idolaters,  adulterers,   they   all   await
punishment,  unless  they turn to the Lord. Likewise  the  whoremongers,
thieves,  covetous people, drunkards, revilers, robbers, and  the  like.
They  all have no place in the kingdom of heaven, but their place is  in
the  "outer  darkness; there shall be weeping and  gnashing  of  teeth."
(Matthew 8:12)
     Let  these things then stimulate the lazy, lest they be cast  away.
Let  those  people, who "rest" in Christ without doing good works,  then
awaken.  Awake, you sleeper, before it is too late. Turn to God; forsake
your former evils; forsake your laziness; ask for forgiveness.

Teus Benschop  --  t.benschop@pobox.ruu.nl
Listowner of chr-exp@nic.surfnet.nl
"A Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel"
Institute Practical Bible-education
Web:  http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/ipb-e/ipbe-home.html

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/cate: cat-034.txt