Good Works

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 24

62. Question: But why can our good works not be our righteousness before God, or at least a part of it?

Answer: Because the righteousness which can stand before God’s judgment must be absolutely perfect and in complete agreement with the law of God,[1] whereas even our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin.[2]

[1] Deut. 27:26; Gal. 3:10. [2] Is. 64:6.

63. Question: But do our good works earn nothing, even though God promises to reward them in this life and the next?

Answer: This reward is not earned[1]; it is a gift of grace.[2]

[1] Matt. 5:12; Heb. 11:6. [2] Luke 17:10; II Tim. 4:7, 8.

64. Question: Does this teaching not make people careless and wicked?

Answer: No. It is impossible that those grafted into Christ by true faith should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness.[1]

[1] Matt. 7:18; Luke 6:43-45; John 15:5.