I don't dispute the idea good works are caused by God's grace rather than having proceeded from ourselves or by a cooperation between necessary grace and an equally necessary free choice. That said, we are still able to perform good works as believers.
The definition of [good] works is something I think needs to be defined more clearly in Reformed theology. There are some parameters for such a discussion.
Defining the question:
- In what sense can our good works be entirely caused by God's grace, still be thought of properly as our good works, and what is faith such that it is distinguishable from a good work?
- Saving faith is not a work (Romans 4:5).
- A believer can do good works (Ephesians 2:10).
- Saving faith is understanding and assent to Scriptural propositions pertaining to the gospel as true (1 Corinthians 1:21-24).
- Therefore, understanding and assent are insufficient conditions for what constitutes a good work.
Towards a definition:
- Intentions refer to why or for what reason we will or choose.
- A necessary precondition for discerning whether or not a work is good hinges on an understanding of one's intentions (1 Corinthians 10:31). E.g. one may refuse to steal, but if he refuses for some selfish reason or, generally, any reason other than that such refusal is right obedience to God's authoritative law which thereby shows right respect for God's glory, such an intention connotes a work which is sinful rather than good.
- Contrarily, one cannot “intend” to understand or assent to a proposition as true; he either does or does not. Both understanding and assent, then, do not hinge on the exercise of one’s own will.
- There seems, therefore, to be at least one way in which saving faith differs from a good work: both may be caused by God’s grace, but only works proceed from our [determined] purposes.