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Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 3-Chapter 1-Good Works

November 27, 2015 Leave a comment



The Scriptures have much to say about good works. We “are created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (#Eph 2:10). Believers must “be careful to maintain good works” (#Tit 3:8). The rich in this world must be rich in good works, ready to share their good things with the needy “That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate” (#1Ti 6:18).

Our Lord testified that the works of the world are evil “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil” (#Joh 7:7). He also testified concerning the Pharisees, that all their works were done for human praise: “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments” (#Mt 23:5). We also read of dead works, works of the flesh, and works of the devil. And so we need to discriminate in dealing with the subject of good works.

1. QUALIFICATIONS FOR GOOD WORKS. Who can perform a good work in the sight of God? The Scriptures make it plain that none but the saved can engage in good works. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (#Eph 2:10); So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (#Ro 8:8); “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (#Heb 11:6).

Good works are the fruit of the Spirit, and none but the saved have the Spirit. Good works are the result of salvation and not the cause of it. The Divine order is salvation, then service. We are saved to serve God and others. In every realm except mechanics, there must be life before activity. Every man by nature is dead in sins and alienates from the life of God. The belief that a sinner may work towards salvation is a heresy of the deepest dye. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (#Tit 3:5); “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (#2Ti 1:9); “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (#Eph 2:8,9). All the work that the lost man does to ingratiate himself into the favor of God is a dead work and needs to be repented of. There is no way into the favor of God except through His Son. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (#Eph 2:13).

2. THE NATURE OF GOOD WORKS. A good work in the Scriptural sense, the only true sense, is a work that pleases God, and brings upon the doer God’s approbation and blessing. A man may perform an act that will meet the human conception of a good deed, but God may judge otherwise. What men might pronounce good, God might reject as evil. Men may reward for that which God will censure.

How may one know when he is engaged in doing good? This is a very important question. Multitudes are in a whirl of so-called Christian activity, nervously executing man-made programs, only to reap in the end a terrible awakening and a sore disappointment. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (#Mt 7:22,23).

It is not our aim to enumerate the good deeds a Christian may do, but rather to show the necessary elements in any work to make it a good work in the sight of God. As individuals, particular deeds may vary according to our relation to society and to our opportunities. Observe,

1. A WORK OF FAITH IS A GOOD WORK. To do that which God commands, just because He commands it, is a good work. A work of faith is possible only to those who have faith. Works of faith are often opposed to human reason. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is filled with works of faith. Human reason did not dictate the acts of Noah, Abraham, and others mentioned in this chapter. The only reason behind a work of faith is that God says do it. And this is to become a fool in the eyes of the world. It was only because Noah believed God that he built the ark.

2. A LABOR OF LOVE IS A GOOD WORK. Christ said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” I Corinthians 13 emphasizes the necessity of love as an element in good works. Faith works by love. “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love” #Ga 5:6. Faith and love are twin graces God wrought, and where these are good works will surely follow.

The unregenerate, so far as the external act is concerned, may do a good deed; however, the inward motive as well as the outward act is essential to a good work in the sight of God. A cup of cold water, given in the name of a disciple of Christ, is a good work, while the gift of a million dollars to a good cause may fall short of a good work. Here is the acid test for every good deed: is it done for the glory of God, and from love to Christ? if so—-

2a) It will not be done for human rewards. This was the motive of the Pharisees in almsgiving. And it is to be feared that many professing Christians want their rewards here and now, and therefore, their motive is to please men rather than God. And the writer must confess that his greatest temptation has been to preach to please men-something he has had to confess before God. He dares not claim a holy motive in all he has done. A good work is done for the glory of God and will be rewarded by Him in the day of judgment. It is not wrong to please men if they are pleased by our seeking to please God.

2b) A labor of love is not done out of envy and strife. “Love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil” (#1Co 13:4,5).

2c) It will not be done for prizes, banners, etc. All sorts of means are being resorted in today to keep church members active in some form of Christian activity. What is needed today is the faithful preaching of the Word, speaking the truth in love, and in utter dependence upon the Holy Spirit for results.

2d) Acceptable service must flow from fellowship with Christ. If we have not learned to worship in secret, we cannot worship in the public assembly. If Christ is not real to us; if we are not walking and communing with Him, it is but mockery to speak of Him to others. It is only when He is precious to us that we can sincerely recommend Him to others.

Paul said that Christianity in the last days would be characterized by people having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (#2Ti 3:5). And this is the certain result of too much public service apart from much secret prayer.


The story is told that when Handley Page was making an Eastern flight, he and his companions descended at Khobar in Arabia. While there a large rat attracted by the smell of food managed to get into the plane. When the flight was resumed Mr. Page discovered the presence of the rat by the sickening sound of gnawing behind him. He thought with horror of the damage those pitiless teeth might do to some vital part of the plane. What could he do? It suddenly occurred to him that a rat cannot stand a high altitude; it is made to live on the surface or burrow beneath the soil. So he decided to soar. He turned the nose of the plane upward and rose higher and higher until he himself found it difficult to breathe. He listened—and to his delight the rat was found to be dead. Now, there are moral pests in the nature of fleshly lusts that war against the soul: worldly amusements in various forms. Our only safety is to soar. These things cannot stand heaven’s air. They die in the presence of Christ Who died for us. Prayer and Bible study-lift us into an altitude that is too high for sinful amusements.


Good works are important as necessary evidences of salvation. They do not procure salvation but manifest it. They are not the cause but the effect of the new birth—created in Christ Jesus unto good works.

The works of the Christian come before him in judgment to be rejected or rewarded. This is not true of the believer’s sins; they were laid upon Christ and He bore them in His own body on the tree. In respect to salvation, the believer’s sins were put upon Christ and judged in Him. In respect to chastisement, they are dealt with in this life. “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (#Heb 12:5-11). The believer will be rewarded for his good works when Christ comes. “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God” (#1Co 4:5).

Is thy cruse of comfort failing?
Rise and share it with a friend!
And through all the years of famine
It shall serve thee to the end.
Love divine will fill thy storehouse,
Or thy handful still renew;
Scanty fare for one will often
Make royal feast for two.

For the heart grows rich in giving:
All its wealth is living grain;
Seeds-which mildew in the garner
Scattered, fill with gold the plain.
Is thy burden hard and heavy?
Do thy steps drag wearily?
Help to lift thy brother’s burden
God will bear both it and thee.

Lost and weary on the mountains,
Would’st thou sleep amidst the snow?
Chafe that frozen form beside thee,
And together both shall glow.
Art thou wounded in life’s battle?
Many stricken round thee moan;
Give to them thy precious ointment,
And that balm shall heal thine own.

Is thy heart a well left empty?
None but God its void can fill;
Nothing but a ceaseless fountain
Can its ceaseless longings still.
Is thy heart a living power?
Self-entwined, its strength sinks low;
It can only live by loving,
And by serving love will grow.

—Author Unknown

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 3

Happy Thanksgiving 2015

November 26, 2015 Leave a comment

Reformedontheweb would like to wish everyone a happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day.

Here is a little quote from Spurgeon on God’s rich blessings toward us:

“All the year round, every hour of every day, God is richly blessing us; both when we sleep and when we wake, his mercy waits upon us. The sun may leave off shining, but our God will never cease to cheer his children with his love. Like a river his lovingkindness is always flowing, with a fullness inexhaustible as his own nature, which is its source. Like the atmosphere which always surrounds the earth, and is always ready to support the life of man, the benevolence of God surrounds all his creatures; in it, as in their element they live, and move, and have their being. Yet as the sun on summer days appears to gladden us with beams more warm and bright than at other times, and as rivers are at certain seasons swollen with the rain, and as the atmosphere itself on occasions is fraught with more fresh, more bracing, or more balmy influences than heretofore, so is it with the mercy of God: it hath its golden hours, its days of overflow, when the Lord magnifieth his grace and lifteth high his love before the sons of men.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Thanksgiving and Prayer, A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning,
September 27TH, 1863

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 40

November 26, 2015 Leave a comment

WESTWOOD, October 18, 1890.


We have a stiff week before us. Monday, at 3.o, laying stone. Tuesday, at Malden, at 11.0. Wednesday, funeral at Tabernacle, at 2.0. Will you go to the house, 12.30, and to the grave? I will preach in Tabernacle.

I cannot see how I am to get an address for teachers on Monday night, and get my sermon done in the morning before I start for Penrose Street. The Lord help us.

With much love,

C. H. S.

Free Ebook- The Covenants of Works and Grace by Walter Chantry

November 25, 2015 1 comment

cwgby Walter Chantry
in ePub, .mobi & .pdf formats

HT Chapel Library

The Covenants of Works and of Grace is a brief but clear presentation of the basic principles in Covenant Theology: that all of God’s dealings with man can be best understood in terms of these two eternal covenants. In the spirit of the Bereans, the author deals with the whole of Scripture to support and defend his premise. In many quarters, these principles have been overrun in our day by Dispensationalism, and its outworkings in Antinomianism and Arminianism. This booklet is a call to return to the historic faith of the Reformation.

It is difficult to know who was the first to call the doctrine of the covenants “the marrow of divinity” (or theology), but it is a most appropriate observation. Without bones the human body would be an unshaped glob of flesh. Without theology the ideas of Scripture would lie in an unshaped mass. Marrow is at the center of the bones which shape our body, and marrow gives health to the body. So the doctrine of the covenants is at the core of theology, and the health of any theological system depends on its understanding of this truth. It would be nearly impossible to overstate the central importance of the Biblical teaching on covenants.

In Genesis chapter three, we observe two covenants in action. Two very different covenants are in force at the same time. The Covenant of Works is not introduced for the first time in chapter three. But all of man’s hopes under the Covenant of Works were dashed here. The curse of the Covenant of Works is declared in this place and it begins to fall on Adam, his race, and his world.

The truly amazing thing is that, just as the curse of the Covenant of Works is imposed, a new covenant is published. Promises of the Covenant of Grace are announced (Gen 3:15) even before the curses of the first covenant are applied (3:19). Also astounding is the fact that Adam’s next recorded deed was an act of faith aroused by the Covenant of Grace. “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she would become the mother of all the living” (Gen 3:20). The head of sinners was not despairing over his colossal failure under the Covenant of Works. Nor was he overwhelmed by the dreadful curse of universal death which was announced. Rather he was hopeful. He was filled with optimism upon hearing the glorious and precious Covenant of Grace with its cheerful promises.

The Covenant of Grace arises from the ashes of the Covenant of Works. As man takes his first step into the ruins of the cursed earth, he does so trusting in the Covenant of Grace. These events are interpreters of the rest of the material in the Bible. Genesis begins at the beginning—with the framework for understanding all the Scriptures. If one misunderstands Genesis chapters one to three, he cannot possibly comprehend the remainder of the Bible. Genesis 3 and its two covenants dominate the experience and history of mankind and will continue to do so until this old and worried earth is destroyed.



1. Definitions of Covenant
2. Similarities and Differences in the Two Covenants
3. Implications from the Scriptural Presentation of Covenants
4. A Corrective to Perverted Views of Scripture



Source []

Coming Soon! Biblical Theology II with Dr. Richard Barcellos

November 25, 2015 1 comment



The time for our annual January modular course is fast approaching. It will be held January 4-8 in Owensboro, Kentucky. Dr. Richard Barcellos will be with us to teach Biblical Theology II. After talking with him about this course, I am assured that it will be a worthwhile time even for those who did not have the privilege of taking Biblical Theology I with us two years ago.

We want to invite both pastors and others who are interested in auditing this course to attend. We are able to provide free lodging and breakfast for those taking the course, on a limited and first come first serve basis. Our course numbers have been rising over the last several years. I would, therefore, encourage you to make known your plans to audit this course soon to make sure that we can provide you with free housing. We can provide lodging beginning January 2 if you would prefer not to travel on the Lord’s Day. Classes begin at 8:00 am on Monday.

Auditing will be free to pastors and members of churches that are church-partners of CBTS, but there will be a $50 auditing fee for all others.

For those of you who will be with us for the Lord’s Day preceding the course, let me add that Dr. Barcellos will be preaching in our morning worship on January 3. One of our Basic Training students, Scott Autry, will be preaching in the evening. In conjunction with our evening worship, we will also be awarding Scott his degree in the MAPS program.

You can find the Syllabus for BT12 here:

Register for the Course here:

You can pay the Tuition for the Course here:

The Lord Reigns,
Dr. Sam Waldron
Dean, Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary


View this update at Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary

Special Providence proved from examples taken from history

November 25, 2015 Leave a comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Special Providence proved, lastly, from examples taken from the history of the Israelites, of Jonah, Jacob, and from daily experience.

7. Nay, I affirm in general, that particular events are evidences of the special providence of God. In the wilderness God caused a south wind to blow, and brought the people a plentiful supply of birds, (Exodus 19:13.) When he desired that Jonah should be thrown into the sea, he sent forth a whirlwind. Those who deny that God holds the reins of government will say that this was contrary to ordinary practice, whereas I infer from it that no wind ever rises or rages without his special command. In no way could it be true that “he maketh the winds his messengers, and the flames of fire his ministers;” that “he maketh the clouds his chariot, and walketh upon the wings of the wind,” (Psalm 104:3, 4,) did he not at pleasure drive the clouds and winds and therein manifest the special presence of his power. In like manner, we are elsewhere taught, that whenever the sea is raised into a storm, its billows attest the special presence of God. “He commandeth and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves.” “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still,” (Psalm 107:25, 29) He also elsewhere declares, that he had smitten the people with blasting and mildew, (Amos 4:9.) Again while man naturally possesses the power of continuing his species, God describes it as a mark of his special favor, that while some continue childless, others are blessed with offspring: for the fruit of the womb is his gift. Hence the words of Jacob to Rachel, “Am I in God’s stead, who has withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?” (Genesis 30:2.) To conclude in one word. Nothing in nature is more ordinary than that we should be nourished with bread. But the Spirit declares not only that the produce of the earth is God’s special gift, but “that man does not live by bread only,” (Deuteronomy 8:3,) because it is not mere fullness that nourishes him but the secret blessing of God. And hence, on the other hand, he threatens to take away “the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water,” (Isaiah 3:1.) Indeed, there could be no serious meaning in our prayer for daily bread, if God did not with paternal hand supply us with food. Accordingly, to convince the faithful that God, in feeding them, fulfills the office of the best of parents, the prophet reminds them that he “giveth food to all flesh,” (Psalm 136:25.) In fine, when we hear on the one hand, that “the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry,” and, on the other hand, that “the face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth,” (Psalm 34:15, 16,) let us be assured that all creatures above and below are ready at his service, that he may employ them in whatever way he pleases. Hence we infer, not only that the general providence of God, continuing the order of nature, extends over the creatures, but that by his wonderful counsel they are adapted to a certain and special purpose.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 16-Henry Beveridge Translation

The Challenge of Cooperation

November 24, 2015 Leave a comment

By Tom Chantry

Yesterday I wrote about the spirit of friendship and cooperation which has formed at least part of the true history of interaction between Presbyterians and Reformed on the one hand and Reformed Baptists on the other. Fellowship has flourished where there has been mutual appreciation and trust. Yet it seems that recently, distrust is growing. I concluded by asking:

In this context, two questions arise. First, is similar friendship and collaboration sustainable any longer? And second, is such cooperation across denominational and confessional lines even a good idea?

My answer to each of those questions is a resounding “Yes.” First, though, we need to understand why such fellowship is challenged.

The New Calvinism

I am convinced that the main challenge to interdenominational cooperation among serious, confessional churches is posed by the movement which has come to be known as “New Calvinism.” New Calvinism is indeed…….




Read the entire article here.


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