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August 9 – LD 32, Day 4: What Good Works Are (2)

1 Samuel 15:22 - "And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams."

Suppose a man was admitted to hospital. His daughter, a young Christian lady, finds out from the doctor that her father has only several days to live and will therefore remain in hospital, and subsequently be transferred to hospice care where he will die. In order to give her father peace of mind during his last days of life, she tells the doctor and nurses not to disclose to him his medical condition. She herself tells him that all is well, and that he is being kept at hospital until he regains his health.

Is she doing a good work?

Continuing to understand what good works are, our Reformed fathers inform us that firstly, they “proceed from a true faith”, and secondly, they “are performed according to the law of God” (LD33, Q/A 91).

As proof of this second aspect of what good works are, our Reformed fathers point us to the rash sacrifice of King Saul, who disobeyed God and did not wait as God had told him to wait for priest Samuel to perform the sacrifice (1 Sam 15:22). Saul's sacrifice, done against God's clear instruction, far from being a good work, was displeasing to the LORD.

Accordingly, what the young lady did was not at all a good work! While the world might consider it to be a good work, she lied to her father and her concern of having her father die with “peace of mind” was misplaced. The calling of this lady was to bring her father God's Word of comfort if he was a Christian, or else to bring him the gospel of repentance and faith in Christ and words of warning in that connection if he wasn't.

For Meditation: The world's idea of “good works” is radically different from what God Himself considers to be good works. Often, the argument used by the world is “the end justifies the means”. So, a “white lie” leading to a “good” end is acceptable, even good. What is your response to that?

Last modified on 04 August 2015

Additional Info

  • Date: 9-August
Lee, Dennis

Rev. Dennis Lee (Wife: Foong Ling)

Ordained: April 2006

Pastorates: Edgerton, MN - 2006; Bethel, Roselle, IL - July 2010; Kalamazoo PRC - Nov.2021


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