一.上帝在圣经中所吩咐的那些事才是善行(弥6:8;罗12:2;来13:21);没有圣经根据,只是因着人盲目的热心,或者假借善良的意图而由人所虚构的事,并非善行(太15:9;赛29:13;彼前1:18;罗10:2;约16:2;撒上15:21-23)。

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.

二.这些顺服上帝诫命而行的善行,乃是真实和活泼的信心的果子和证据(雅2:18,22);信徒藉此表示感恩(诗116:12,13;彼前2:9),坚固确信(约壹2:3,5;彼后1:5-10),造就弟兄(林后9:2;太5:16),尊荣福音(多2:5,9-12;提前6:1),堵住敌人的口(彼前2:15),并荣耀上帝(彼前2:12;腓1:11;约15:8),他们原是祂的工作,在基督耶稣里造成的,为要叫他们行善(弗2:10),以便有成圣的果子,最终得享永生(罗6:22)。

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.

三.他们行善的能力绝不是出于自己,乃是完全从基督的灵来的(约15:4-5;结36:26-27)。他们为能行善,除已经领受的诸般美德之外,还需要圣灵的实际影响在他们里面运行,叫他们立志行事,成就祂的美意(腓2:13;4:13;林后3:5);然而他们不可因此而疏懒,以为除非受圣灵特别的感动,就无须履行任何责任;反倒应当殷勤,将上帝在他们里面的美德再如火挑旺起来(腓2:12;来6:11-12;彼后1:3,5,10,11;赛64:7;提后1:6;徒26:6,7;犹20,21)。

Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ. And that they may be enabled thereunto, besides 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.

四.就是那些在顺服上达到今生可能达到的最高境界的人,也不能立份外的功德,并且他们所行的不会过于上帝所要求的,反而大大亏欠当尽的本分(路17:10;尼:13:22;伯9:2,3;加5:17)。

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

五.我们不能靠最善的行为从上帝手中赚得赦罪,或永生,因为这种行为与将来的荣耀极不相称,而且我们与上帝之间又有天壤之别,我们藉着这些善行,既不能使祂受益,也不能补偿我们以前的罪债(罗3:20;4:2,4,6;弗2:8,9;多3:5-7;罗8:18;诗16:2;伯22:2-3;35:7-8)。我们尽力而为,只不过是尽当尽的本分,我们乃是无用的仆人(路17:10)。它们之所以是善的,是因从上帝的灵发出(加5:22-23)。同时它们又因是由我们行出来,便被诸多软弱和瑕疵玷污,并与之混杂,以致经不起上帝严厉的审判(赛64:6;加5:17;罗7:15,18;诗143:2;130:3)。

We cannot, by our best works, merit pardon of sin, or eternal life, at the hand of God, because 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; 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.

六.然而,信徒本人既因基督得蒙悦纳,他们的善行也在祂里面得蒙悦纳(弗1:6;彼前2:5;出28:38;创4:4;来11:4),这不是说,他们今生在上帝眼中完全没有瑕疵,无可指摘了(伯9:20;诗143:2);乃是说,祂既在祂儿子里看待他们,便乐意对那虽不免有许多软弱和瑕疵,却是出于至诚的善行,欣然接纳并予以报答(来13:20,21;林后8:12;来6:10;太25:21,23)。

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 unreprovable 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.

七.虽然未重生者所行的事,或许本身是上帝所吩咐的,并且对己对人都有益处(王下10:30-31;王上21:27,29;腓1:15,16,18);但是,因为它们不是从那被信心洁净了的心发出来的(创4:3-5;来11:4,6),也不是按照上帝的话用正当的方式行出来的(林前13:3;赛1:12),又不是为了荣耀上帝这正当的目的(太6:2,5,16);所以它们都是有罪的,既不能取悦上帝,也不能使人配受上帝的恩典(该2:14;多1:15;摩5:21,22;何1:4;罗9:16;多3:5)。可是人若忽略它们,便更是有罪,更为上帝所不喜悦(诗14:4;36:3;伯21:14,15;太25:41-45;23:23)。

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 a 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.