Perkins On How Good Works Work

Again, it may be demanded (considering we cannot fulfill the law), how our works can please God? Answer. In every good work, there is something that is God’s and something that is ours alone. The defect of the work is ours alone, and that is pardoned to the believer. That which is good in the work is from God, and that He approves as being His own. And thus every good work is said to please God.

William Perkins | The Works of William Perkins, ed. Paul M. Smalley, Joel R. Beeke, and Derek W. H. Thomas, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2015), 174.


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  • Tony Phelps
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    Tony grew up in Rhode Island. He was educated at BA (University of Rhode Island) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He worked in the insurance industry for ten years. He planted a PCA church in Wakefield, RI where he served for eleven years. In 2015–18 he pastored Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Colorado Springs. He is currently pastor of Living Hope (OPC). Tony is married to Donna and together they have three children.

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  1. That is a great and encouraging quote! Ephesians 2:10 comes to mind. Because we are are His workmanship, our good works were prepared in advance for us to do. They are evidence that we belong to God, because He works in us to do His will, and accomplish His purpose, in spite of our failings and imperfections, which He graciously forgives.

  2. Interesting since I taught Luke 17:10, where Jesus says that just doing all that we are commanded (as if we could even come close!) makes us unprofitable servants.

    One of the ladies asked me how to square that with Jesus’ encomium, “Well done, good and faithful servant” in Matt. 25:21.

    My response was that God does not love us because of our works (Luke.) But He does love our works because we, whom He loves, did them.

    What do you think?

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