Good Works

Some protestants feel the Catholic Church places to much emphasis on "good works", mistakingly believing we somehow think faith is not necessary. The Catholic Church teaches that without faith, good works are dead, which simply means that we need to be in a state of grace. Good works are clearly necessary from the Church's teaching on the "Corporal Works of Mercy" and "Spiritual Works of Mercy".

(emphasis added to Bible texts)

Matthew 5:13 - You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing anymore but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men. 14 You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house. 16 So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. 17 Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled.

Matthew 26:7 - There came to him a woman having an alabaster box of precious ointment and poured it on his head as he was at table. 8 And the disciples seeing it had indignation, saying: To what purpose is this waste? 9 For this might have been sold for much and given to the poor. 10 And Jesus knowing it, said to them: Why do you trouble this woman? For she hath wrought a good work upon me. Same event repeated in Mark 14:6

John 10:30 - I and the Father are ONE. 31 The Jews then took up stones to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them: Many good works I have shewed you from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me? 33 The Jews answered him: For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy: and because that thou. being a, man, makest thyself God.

Acts 9:34 - And Peter said to him: Eneas, the Lord Jesus Christ healeth thee. Arise and make thy bed. And immediately he arose. 35 And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him: who were converted to the Lord. 36 And in Joppe there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. 37 And it came to pass in those days that she was sick and died. Whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. 38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppe, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not be slack to come unto them.

Romans 2:4 - Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and patience and longsuffering? Knowest thou not that the benignity of God leadeth thee to penance? 5 But according to thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest up to thyself wrath, against the day of wrath and revelation of the just judgment of God: 6 Who will render to every man according to his works. 7 To them indeed who, according to patience in good work, seek glory and honour and incorruption, eternal life: 8 But to them that are contentious and who obey not the truth but give credit to iniquity, wrath and indignation. 9 Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that worketh evil: of the Jew first, and also of the Greek.

Romans 13:1 - Let every soul be subject to higher powers. For there is no power but from God: and those that are ordained of God. 2 Therefore, he that resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist purchase to themselves damnation. 3 For princes are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good: and thou shalt have praise from the same.

2 Corinthians 9:1 - For concerning the ministry that is done towards the saints, it is superfluous for me to write unto you. 7 Every one as he hath determined in his heart, not with sadness or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound in you: that ye always, having all sufficiently in all things, may abound to every good work, 9 As it is written: He hath dispersed abroad, he hath given to the poor: his justice remaineth for ever.

Ephesians 2: - (What Protestants only selectively quote) 1 And you, when you were dead in your offences and sins, 2 Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of this air, of the spirit that now worketh on the children of unbelief: 3 In which also we all conversed in time past, in the desires of our flesh, fulfilling the will of the flesh and of our thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest: 4 But God (who is rich in mercy) for his exceeding charity wherewith he loved us 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ (by whose grace you are saved) 6 And hath raised us up together and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places, through Christ Jesus. 7 That he might shew in the ages to come the abundant riches of his grace, in his bounty towards us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you are saved through faith: and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God. 9 Not of works, that no man may glory. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works, which God hath prepared that we should walk in them.

Philippians 1:5 - For your communication in the gospel of Christ, from the first day unto now. 6 Being confident of this very thing: that he who hath begun a good work in you will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus.

Colossians 1:9 - Therefore we also, from the day that we heard it, cease not to pray for you and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding: 10 That you may walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing: being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God: 11 Strengthened with all might according to the power of his glory, in all patience and longsuffering with joy, 12 Giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light:

2 Thessalonians 2:14 - Therefore, brethren, stand fast: and hold the traditions, which you have learned, whether by word or by our epistle. 15 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God and our Father, who hath loved us and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope in grace, 16 Exhort your hearts and confirm you in every good work and word.

1 Timothy 2:9 - In like manner, women also in decent apparel: adorning themselves with modesty and sobriety, not with plaited hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly attire: 10 But, as it becometh women professing godliness, with good works. 11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to use authority over the man: but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed: then Eve. 14 And Adam was not seduced: but the woman, being seduced, was in the transgression. 15 Yet she shall be saved through child bearing: if she continue in faith and love and sanctification with sobriety.

1 Timothy 3:1 - A faithful saying: If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth good work. 2 It behoveth therefore a bishop to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, of good behaviour, chaste, given to hospitality, a teacher,

1 Timothy 5:6 - For she that liveth in pleasures is dead while she is living. 7 And this give in charge, that they may be blameless. 8 But if any man have not care of his own and especially of those of his house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel. 9 Let a widow be chosen of no less than threescore years of age, who hath been the wife of one husband. 10 Having testimony for her good works, if she have brought up children, if she have received to harbour, if she have washed the saints feet, if she have ministered to them that suffer tribulation, if she have diligently followed every good work. 11 But the younger widows avoid. For, when they have grown wanton in Christ, they will marry: 12 Having damnation, because they have made void their first faith.

1 Timothy 6:17 - Charge the rich of this world not to be highminded nor to trust in the uncertainty of riches, but in the living God (who giveth us abundantly all things to enjoy): 18 To do good: to be rich in good work: to give easily: to communicate to others: 19 To lay up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on the true life.

2 Timothy 2:19 - But the sure foundation of God standeth firm, having this seal: The Lord knoweth who are his; and let every one depart from iniquity who nameth the name of the Lord. 20 But in a great house there are not only, vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth: and some indeed unto honour, but some unto dishonour. 21 If any man therefore shall cleanse himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and profitable to the Lord, prepared unto every good work. 22 But flee thou youthful desires: and pursue justice, faith, charity and peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 And avoid foolish and unlearned questions, knowing that they beget strifes.

2 Timothy 3:16 - All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.

Titus 1:13 - This testimony is true. Wherefore, rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith: 14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn themselves away from the truth. 15 All things are clean to the clean: but to them that are defiled and to unbelievers, nothing is clean: but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16 They profess that they know God: but in their works they deny him: being abominable and incredulous and to every good work reprobate.

Titus 2:7 - In all things shew thyself an example of good works, in doctrine, in integrity, in gravity, 8 The sound word that can not be blamed: that he who is on the contrary part may be afraid, having no evil to say of us.

Titus 3:1 - Admonish them to be subject to princes and powers, to obey at a word, to be ready to every good work. 2 To speak evil of no man, not to be litigious but gentle: shewing all mildness towards all men.

Titus 3:7 - That, being justified by his grace, we may be heirs according to hope of life everlasting. 8 It is a faithful saying. And these things I will have thee affirm constantly, that they who believe in God may be careful to excel in good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. 9 But avoid foolish questions and genealogies and contentions and strivings about the law. For they are unprofitable and vain.

Philemon 1:5 - Hearing of thy charity and faith, which thou hast in the Lord Jesus and towards all the saints: 6 That the communication of thy faith may be made evident in the acknowledgment of every good work that is in you in Christ Jesus. 7 For I have had great joy and consolation in thy charity, because the bowels of the saints have been refreshed by thee, brother.

Hebrews 10:22 - Let us draw near with a true heart, in fulness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with clean water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering (for he is faithful that hath promised): 24 And let us consider one another, to provoke unto charity and to good works: 25 Not forsaking our assembly, as some are accustomed: but comforting one anther, and so much the more as you see the day approaching.

All of the Epistle of St. James talks about good works (wasn't it this epistle that Martin Luther called "an epistle of straw"? Wonder why!)

1 Peter 2:11 - Dearly beloved, I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, to refrain yourselves from carnal desires which war against the soul, 12 Having your conversation good among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by the good works which they shall behold in you, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Be ye subject therefore to every human creature for God's sake: whether it be to the king as excelling,

2 Peter 1:5 - And you, employing all care, minister in your faith, virtue: And in virtue, knowledge: 6 And in knowledge, abstinence: and in abstinence, patience: and in patience, godliness: 7 And in godliness, love of brotherhood: and in love of brotherhood, charity. 8 For if these things be with you and abound, they will make you to be neither empty nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he that hath not these things with him is blind and groping, having forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore, brethren, labour the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election. For doing these things, you shall not sin at any time. 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the ever-lasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Even the Old Testament mentions good works:

2 Paralipomenon (2 Chronicles) Chapter 12:12 - But yet because they were humbled, the wrath of the Lord turned away from them, and they were not utterly destroyed: for even in Juda there were found good works.

2 Paralipomenon (2 Chronicles) Chapter 19:3 - But good works are found in thee, because thou hast taken away the groves out of the land of Juda, and hast prepared thy heart to seek the Lord the God of thy fathers.

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Catholic Truth Publications/TAN Books and Publishers, Inc.
Last edited August 30, 2001