Tom Juodaitis over at The Trinity Foundation has once again called my attention to another excellent sermon by Voddie Bauchum, Pastor of Grace Family Baptist Church. This meaty and convicting sermon is on Romans 10:1-4, and draws its title from the text: Zeal Without Knowledge. You can download and listen to it here.
Here are some helpful comments from Gordon H. Clark which answer the question of how one can know good works from evil ones. Emphasis in bold is my own.
What then are good works? Are they those actions a benevolently intentioned gentleman may happen to enjoy? Is a substantial donation to an orphanage, hospital, or church a good work? Strange as it may seem to non-Christians, and even to uninstructed Christians, the answer is that these actions are not necessarily good. They may be good; but again they may not be. What then makes a work or action good?
Two requirements must be fulfilled before an act can properly be called good. The [Westminster] Confession says, “Good works are only such as God hath commanded in his holy word, and not such as, without the warrant thereof, are devised by men out of blind zeal, or upon any pretense of good intention.”
The first part of this section teaches that unless we had the Bible, it would be impossible to know what is good and what is evil. To be sure, the heathen know that there is a distinction between right and wrong; and they regularly violate their consciences; but they do not know in particular what acts are right because their consciences are unenlightened. The Biblical revelation is essential to a knowledge of what works are good (“Good Works,” Essays on Ethics and Politics, p. 104; originally published in The Southern Presbyterian Journal, February 9, 1955.).
[You can find this and many other excellent articles at The Trinity Foundation.]
Not only do denominations differ over their interpretations of various Biblical doctrines, but also within each denomination individual members have their personal peculiarities. Therefore when ministers assemble for a sedate colloquium or college students get together for a friendly bull session, and a question on Biblical doctrine arises, the discussion is bound to be interesting.
Within the past year two such meetings took place-one almost exclusively of ministers and professors, the other almost exclusively of students. It may not be so surprising that the subject of divine guidance and right conduct was taken up at both meetings, but it is worthy of note that in the first meeting a minister from a liturgical and rather formal denomination and in the second meeting some students from much more informal groups, expressed similar sentiments on the Christian’s relation to the law of God. It may also be worthy to note that few of the ministers agreed with the minister, while most of the students agreed with the students. Continue Reading
I finally finished reading The Law is Not of Faith yesterday. In the volume’s final essay, “Obedience is Better than Sacrifice,” Michael Horton endeavors to show the importance of the doctrine of the imputation of Christ’s active obedience. Although not exactly his primary point, I found the following passage particularly interesting (emphasis in bold is mine):
“No longer paralyzed by anxiety in a debt economy [since Christ has paid our debt -PTMcW] we are free to live imperfectly yet joyfully in the eucharistic economy, between Christ’s finished work and our final glorification. We are no longer debtors to God in any respect — not even to his grace, but are grateful heirs. For this first time, we can render obedience that comes from the heart of sons rather than slaves. In Christ, the Great King finally has received the human service in which his fatherly heart delights. And the whole creation will enter with thanksgiving behind its new Adam (Rom. 8:18-24). Continue Reading