For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,…
I. WHAT ARE GOOD WORKS?
1. No work can be good unless it is commanded of God.
2. Nothing is a good work unless it is done with a good motive; and there is no motive which can be said to be good but the glory of God.
3. Furthermore, when we have faith in God and perform all our works with the best of motives, even then we have not so much as a solitary good work until the blood of Christ is sprinkled thereon.
II. WHERE DO GOOD WORKS COME FROM?
1. From a real conversion brought about by the Spirit of God.
2. From union with Christ.
III. WHAT IS THE USE OF GOOD WORKS?
1. They are useful as evidences of grace. The Antinomian says — But I do not require evidences; I can live without them. This is unreasonable. Do you see yonder clock? That is the evidence of the time of day. The hour would be precisely the same if we had not that evidence. Still we find the clock of great use. So we say good works are the best evidence of spiritual life in the soul. Is it not written, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren"? Loving the brethren is a good work. Again, "If any man abide in Me, he shall bring forth fruit." Fruits of righteousness are good works, and they are evidences that we abide in Christ. If I am living in sin day by day what right have I to conclude I am a child of God?
2. They are the witnesses or testimony to other people of the truth of what we believe. A sermon is not what a man says, but what he does. You who practise are preaching; it is not preaching and practising, but practising is preaching. The sermon that is preached by the mouth is soon forgotten, but what we preach by our lives is never forgotten.
3. They are of use to a Christian as an ornament. The adornment of good works, the adornment in which we hope to enter heaven, is the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ; but the adornment of a Christian here below is his holiness, his piety, his consistency. If some people had a little more piety, they would not require such a showy dress; if they had a little more godliness, to set them off, they would have no need whatever to be always decorating themselves. The best earrings that a woman can wear are the earrings of hearing the Word with attention. The very best ring that we can have upon our finger is the ring which the father puts upon the finger of the prodigal son when he is brought back; and the very best dress we can ever wear is a garment wrought by the Holy Spirit — the garment of a consistent conduct.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,