The Truth About Good Works in Titus
The Truth About Good Works in Titus
Titus is a relatively short letter written by Paul to Titus as pastoral advice and instruction. Throughout the three sections (chapters) of this letter, the subject of good works comes up repeatedly. Let’s examine what Paul wrote to this Church leader about works.
Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
- Paraphrase: There are people who say they know God, yet they are really unbelievers. Their lives before God are detestable and their works are worthless.
Titus 2:7-8 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity 8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
- Paraphrase: Christians should set a good example by their works. Their teachings must be pure, they must be serious about their faith, their words must be reliable and beyond criticism; so that those opposing their faith are the ones discredited and unbelievers are left with nothing bad to say about Christians.
Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
- Paraphrase: Christ shed His blood and gave His life to free us from our bondage to sin (He literally purchased us by paying our debt). Christ did this to cleanse us and set us apart as His possession. We are to be passionate about showing His love through good works.
Titus 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
- Paraphrase: Christian leaders are to inform the flock of their obligation to obey the law and governmental regulations. Christians should be ready, willing and able to perform good deeds whenever the opportunities present themselves (not just when it is convenient or comfortable).
Titus 3:5-6 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
- Paraphrase: Christ saved us because of His mercy; not because of any works we have done attempting to earn righteousness. Salvation means we are given new life, all things are made new, and we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit (which is generously given to us at our conversion).
Titus 3:7-8 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
- Paraphrase: We are justified before God and made heirs to the promise of eternal life by His grace alone. This is the truth; as Christians we can speak these things with confidence. And hearing these things, believers should embrace the value of good works, accept the responsibility of good works, understand the positive impact of good works, and be diligent to perform good works.
Our human nature, our upbringing, the world around, and Satan all lead us to believe we have to work to achieve a good standing before God. We think we have to earn His love and then work to keep it. We start believing the lie that we can earn righteousness. The Bible, God’s Holy Word, reveals the lies and deceptions about our works.
In Titus, we find a great summary of the truth about works. Our works are very important; yet they do not contribute to our salvation or keep us from losing it. Genuinely good works before God are a result of salvation. Good works show the love of Christ, impact people’s lives for the better, show our love and appreciation for God, build a strong testimony for Christians, and are very important and helpful in evangelism. Just as we should always be ready to discuss the reasons for our faith in Christ (see 1 Peter 3:15), we should always be ready to demonstrate our faith in Christ and love for others through good works.
Dear Lord, please reveal the true value of good works by the conviction and leading of Your Holy Spirit. Give me a desire to show Your love through good works. Guide me to the situations, timing and activities that glorify Your name and achieve Your purposes. May my words and actions draw others closer to You. Strengthen me, empower me, and guide me to the works You have ordained for me. I love You and praise You for the clarity found in Titus about good works. Praise be to Your Holy name forever. In the name of Christ, by His shed blood I pray, Amen.