Can regenerate man do good?

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by FrozenChosen, Jun 8, 2004.

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  1. FrozenChosen

    FrozenChosen Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm talking the real stuff here.

    Can regenerate man do a 100% good work, that is, pure and holy in motive and in action.

    I've heard people say you can, I've heard others say you can't.

    I'm leaning towards the can, but certainly am not in a concrete position. So that's why I'm asking you all for your opinions.
  2. Athaleyah

    Athaleyah Puritan Board Sophomore

    I also am leading toward the can. When we become regenerate we become able to not sin. And one simple definition I have seen of sinning is to fall short of the perfection God demands (making all one's acts good and done to glorify God). When regenerate we become able to not sin, so we would then become capable of acts that conform to the perfect will of god. And so, I would think, capable of a 100% good work.

    My :wr50:
  3. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritanboard Commissioner

    Sanctification is a process that complete's itself in Heaven. Having said that, without full sanctification, one's works will never be pure. There will always be the stain of sin to contend with otherwise.
  4. staythecourse

    staythecourse Puritan Board Junior

    I think I can, I think I can

    I've thought about that, too.

    I posted a question as to whether or not Paul was always in the Spirit (The thread was "Was Paul always in the Zone")

    I am encouraged by "God made us for good works that we SHOULD walk in them." (Where is that verse?)

    Also Paul tells one of the congregations that they were filled with all goodness. (Galations, Ephesians, Philipians, Colossians)

    Forgive me for not knowing the references off hand but those two verses encourage me that I have more goodness in me than I allow myself since the Holy Spirit dwells in me and I am told to walk in good works.
  5. BlackCalvinist

    BlackCalvinist Puritan Board Senior

    I would say yes. The Spirit of God indwelling the believer enables his/her motives to be (in some cases) pure when doing things in the service of God or men. This is why 1 Corinthians 3 classifies how our works will be judged (gold, silver and precious stones). Some works will be gold....untainted by human ambition and selfishness or self-serving, but simply out of a desire to serve men and God perfectly and purely. Some will be tainted with a [i:8b8fe94a04]little[/i:8b8fe94a04] self-serving motives (it makes [b:8b8fe94a04]me[/b:8b8fe94a04] feel good to serve others).... and others will be tainted more (i.e.- I'm doing this because it will be pleasing to God AND it makes me look good).
  6. kceaster

    kceaster Puritan Board Junior

    Okay, I'll be on the other side.

    What about the fact that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me?

    If that is the case, what percentage of the work am I really doing, if Christ's power is the enabling force?

    What about Paul saying this, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find."

    He goes on to say that his renewed will (implied) is willing to do the good things, but the law in his members that is, in his flesh, wars against this.

    So, I'll ask again, how do we perform something good? If it was not originated from us, if we cannot unless the power of Christ is within us, then isn't it Christ in us that does the work?

    I agree that our works will be weighed and our gifts burned, but the only gold I'll ever produce is by Christ in me, and not myself. My righteousness or place before the law is nothing. Only Christ in me will gain any standing.

    BTW, the WCF states it like this:

    Chapter XVI
    Of Good Works

    I. Good works are only such as God has commanded in His holy Word, and not such as, without the warrant thereof, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, or upon any pretence of good intention.

    II. These good works, done in obedience to God's commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith: and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the Gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.

    III. [b:0696fd2137]Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ.[/b:0696fd2137] And that they may be enabled thereunto, beside the graces they have already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will, and to do, of His good pleasure: yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.

    IV. They who, in their obedience, attain to the greatest height which is possibly in this life, are so far from being able to supererogate, and to do more than God requires, as that they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.

    V. We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come; and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom, by them, we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins, [b:0696fd2137]but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants: and because, as they are good, they proceed from His Spirit, and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God's judgment.[/b:0696fd2137]

    VI. Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in Him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreproveable in God's sight; but that He, looking upon them in His Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.

    VII. Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands; and of good use both to themselves and others: yet, because they proceed not from an heart purified by faith; nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word; nor to a right end, the glory of God, they are therefore sinful and cannot please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God: and yet, their neglect of them is more sinful and displeasing unto God.

    In Christ,

  7. VanVos

    VanVos Puritan Board Sophomore

    I agree with Kevin on this one, they are accepted as good works because they are done by faith (Rom 14:23) in Christ (1 Peter 2:5). But in of themselves, our best works on our best day are like filthy rags (Isa 64:6).

  8. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    I'm with Kevin and the Confession on this one.

    Surprise! Fred, agreeing the Confession! Who woulda thunk it?
  9. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Vicarious good, yes. Intrinsic good, no.
  10. Irishcat922

    Irishcat922 Puritan Board Sophomore

    "Grant what Thou commandest, and command what thou dost desire." Augustine

    The Apostle Paul tells us "To be anxious for nothing, but in all things through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. " Phil. 4:6

    This is a command, I can't not be anxious at times. But I can do all things Through Christ who gives me strength.

    I think good works like Kevin has already said are only possible through Faith. Rom. 14:23

    2. These good works, done in obedience to God's commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith(3) and by them believers manifest their thankfulness,(4) strengthen their assurance,(5) edify their brethren,(6) adorn the profession of the Gospel,(7) stop the mouths of the adversaries,(8) and glorify God,(9) whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto,(10) that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.(11) WCF 16:2

    [Edited on 6-8-2004 by Irishcat922]

    [Edited on 6-8-2004 by Irishcat922]

    [Edited on 6-8-2004 by Irishcat922]
  11. FrozenChosen

    FrozenChosen Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks for the replies, everyone.

    Kevin, thanks for explaining it. It was really late at night (2:25 AM) and I didn't frame the question as well as I should have.

    In my head I included a work done in faith of Christ, but in my grogginess I forgot to mention it.

    So (and correct me if I'm wrong) this could be a summary statement:

    "The regenerate man can perform a pure good deed, but it is only the work of the Spirit of God; without the Spirit of God and faith in the Godhead there is no possibility of a purely good work."

    Eh, who am I kidding. The WCF always says it better.:(
  12. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    I'll just add a few more references from the Dutch side of the house.

    Heidelburg Catechism

    Q62: But why cannot our good works be the whole or part of our righteousness before God?
    A62: Because the righteousness which can stand before the judgment seat of God must be perfect throughout and entirely conformable to the divine law,[1] but even our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin.[2]
    1. Gal. 3:10; Deut. 27:26
    2. Isa. 64:6; James 2:10; Phil. 3:12

    Q63: Do our good works merit nothing, even though it is God's will to reward them in this life and in that which is to come?
    A63: The reward comes not of merit, but of grace.[1]
    1. Luke 17:10; Rom. 11:6

    Q64: But does not this doctrine make men careless and profane?
    A64: No, for it is impossible that those who are implanted into Christ by true faith, should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness.[1]
    1. Matt. 7:18; Rom. 6:1-2; John 15:5

    Q86: Since, then, we are redeemed from our misery by grace through Christ, without any merit of ours, why must we do good works?
    A86: Because Christ, having redeemed us by His blood, also renews us by His Holy Spirit after His own image, that with our whole life we show ourselves thankful to God for His blessing,[1] and that He be glorified through us;[2] then also, that we ourselves may be assured of our faith by the fruits thereof;[3] and by our godly walk may win others also to Christ.[4]
    1. Rom. 6:13; 12:1-2; I Peter 2:5, 9-10, 12; I Cor. 6:20;
    2. Matt. 5:16; I Peter 2:12
    3. Matt. 7:17-18; Gal. 5:6, 22-23
    4. Rom. 14:19; I Peter 3:1-2; II Peter 1:10

    Q91: What are good works?
    A91: Those only which proceed from true faith,[1] and are done according to the Law of God,[2] unto His glory,[3] and not such as rest on our own opinion [4] or the commandments of men.[5]
    1. Rom. 14:23
    2. I Sam. 15:22; Eph. 2:10
    3. I Cor. 10:31
    4. Deut. 12:32; Ezek. 20:18, 20; Isa. 29:13
    5. Matt. 15:9; Num. 15:39
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