09 March, 2018

II Chronicles 25:2—“… And [Amaziah] did that which was right in the sight of the Lord …”

And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart (II Chron. 25:2).

And he (Amaziah) did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father: he did according to all things as Joash his father did (II Kings 14:3).

This text is sometimes used to support the notion that the natural man, without the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, is able to do “good” (contrary to the doctrine of total depravity).


Prof. Herman C. Hanko

[Source: Common Grace Considered [2019 edition], p. 268]

[It] is quite possible and even likely that Amaziah was a godly king who loved the Lord, although he was also very weak in many respects and did not do good “with a perfect heart.”



Herman Hoeksema (1886-1965)

[Source: The Standard Bearer, vol. 40, no. 10 (Feb 15, 1964), pp. 220-221]

Good is an act when it is motivated by the love of God and of men; evil an act when in its deepest root it is motivated by hatred of God and our fellow men. There is nothing else. There can be nothing else. Now, according to the Synod of Kalamazoo, 1924, the unregenerate man can do what is called civil good. Hence, the synod maintains that a man that is not motivated by the love of God and of the neighbour, who, in fact, in his deepest heart is motivated by enmity against God and against the neighbor, can do good. You may call it natural or civil good—to me that makes no difference—it is not sin but good, in the moral and ethical sense of the word.

Of [Amaziah] we read … that he did what was right in the sight of the Lord (II Kings 14:3). Thus also in II Chronicles 25:2: “he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.” We must understand, in the first place, that this “right in the sight of the Lord” refers to that which he did as king, particularly, to certain reforms he brought about. But, in the second place, he did this “not as David his father,” and he did it not “with a perfect heart.” Whatever his motives may have been, he did it not from “a perfect heart,” not from the love of Jehovah his God and, therefore, whatever he did was not good, but was sin. That this is true is evident from what we read in II Chronicles 25:14ff.: “Now it came to pass, after Amaziah had come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense before them.” And when a prophet of God came to rebuke him, he said to the prophet: “Art thou made of the king’s counsel? Forbear; why shouldest thou be smitten?” (v. 16).

… [The] mere fact that a man can and does something right is no proof at all that so-called “common grace” restrains him from sin. On the contrary, at the same time that he does well, he sins against God.



Westminster Confession (1647)

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 an 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 (16:7).



Heidelberg Catechism (1563)

Q. 8. Are we then so corrupt that we are wholly incapable of doing any good, and inclined to all wickedness?
A. Indeed we are, except we are regenerated by the Spirit of God.

Q. 91. But what are good works?
A. Only those which proceed from a true faith, are performed according to the law of God, and to His glory; and not such as are founded on our imaginations or the institutions of men.



More to come! (DV)

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