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Key Passages:

James 2:14-26 — Works demonstrate faith
Titus 2:7-8 — A model of good works silences opponents
Titus 2:14 — A purified people, zealous for good deeds
Eph. 2:8-10 — Created for good works, not saved by them
Eph. 5:25-27 — A church without spot or wrinkle
1 Tim. 3:15 — A pillar and bulwark of the truth
1 Thess. 5:23 — Entire sanctification
1 Pet. 1:13-16 — Not conformed to old desires, but holy like God
Rom. 6:12-14 — Instruments of righteousness, not wickedness
2 Cor. 3:17 — Where the Spirit is, there is freedom

Discussion Questions:

1. What is the connection between personal holiness and righteous acts? Is it possible to have one without the other? In other words, can a believer be holy, but still be a poor practitioner of good works? And can an “unholy” non-believer still do righteous acts?
2. How is it possible to be zealous for good works without being inappropriately aware of the “good” one is doing and attempting to do? How is it possible to come close to the practice of “disinterested benevolence”?
3. Paul admonishes Timothy to be a pillar and a bulwark of the truth. But how can one be a pillar when one is a flawed and struggling Christian? Does the 12-step program tell us anything helpful about working with people whose goals are higher than their capabilities?
4. How can one perceive the call to good works so that the good things do not become a cause for arrogance on the one hand or an apparent attempt to win God’s favor on the other?
5. Do we understand how a commitment to Jesus enables us to change past habits so that we can testify to a new life in Christ?
6. To what extent can good works be spontaneous? Should we plan for good works even if they are not spontaneous but must be willed with considerable energy?

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