Why Good Works Are Necessary for the Christian

(c) Palace of Westminster; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Kevin DeYoung:

Anthony Burgess (d. 1644) argued that while good works should never be construed as meritorious for our justification, they were still necessary as our duty on the way to final salvation. Here are 13 reasons why:

1. “They are the fruit and end of Christ’s death” (Titus 2:14).

2. “There is an analogical relation between good works and heaven insofar as God has appointed the way (good works” to the end (heaven).”

3. “There is a promise made to them” (1 Tim. 4:7-8).

4. “They are testimonies whereby our election is made sure” (2 Peter 1:10).

5. “They are a condition, without which a man cannot be saved. So that although a man cannot by the presence of them gather a cause of his salvation; yet by the absence of them he may conclude his damnation; so that is an inexcusable speech of the Antinomian, Good works do not profit us, nor bad hinder us.”

6. “They are in their own nature a defence against sin and corruption” (Eph. 6:14-16).

7. “They are necessary by a natural connexion with faith, and the Spirit of God.”

8. “They are necessary by debt and obligation. . . . We cannot merit at God’s hand, because the more good we are enabled to do, we are the more beholding to God. Hence it is, that we are his servants.”

9. “By the command of God” (1 Thess. 4:3).

10. “They are necessary by way of comfort to ourselves. And this opposes many Antinomian passages, who forbid us to take any peace by our holiness.”

11. “They are necessary in respect of God, both in that he is hereby pleased, and also glorified.”

12. “They are necessary in regard of others” (Matt. 5:16).

13. “Holiness and godliness inherent is the end of our faith and justification.” (Quoted in Jones, Antinomianism, 68).

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

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