Devoted to Good Works
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 119:49-56 | Jeremiah 51:54-52:34 | Titus 3:1-15| Proverbs 26:18-19
Today’s Scripture Focus: Titus 3
“The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.” (Titus 3:8 NIV)
Believers should be “devoted to good works.” Paul makes that point repeatedly in these verses (2:7, 14; 3:1, 8, 14). In particular he points out that they should devote themselves to good works that would help out those in urgent need (3:14).
It is impossible to gain salvation by good works (though many people have been led to believe that is the way to salvation). Paul’s clear statement of Ephesians 2:8-10 is reaffirmed here: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Salvation is the gift of God. It is appropriated by grace through faith—not by good works. But the one who trusts in Christ for salvation is created to do good works. The good works are the result of salvation–not the means of it.
Paul makes a similar point here in chapter 1 where he speaks of those “who profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work” (1:16 ESV). There must first be the regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit (3:5) that remakes us into God’s craftsmanship to do good works (2:14).
While good works are never the way to salvation, good works are the natural result of it. In fact, we are saved to do good works. Therefore Paul says, “those who have believed in God” should “be careful to devote themselves to good works.” They should “learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need and not be unfruitful.”
We are urged to live lives that show good works so that “in every way (we) will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive (2:10 NIV). In essence, we preach the gospel through our lifestyle and good works. This is particularly true when we care for those in urgent need–showing the love and compassion of Christ.
Are you “careful to devote” yourself to good works? (8) Are you learning to do so? (14). Let me encourage you to be devoted to making the good news attractive by your devotion to helping those in need.