Recently in our Sunday morning services, I have been preaching through the book of Titus. One of the interesting subthemes that we have come across time and time again is the subject of doing good works. In speaking of Jesus redeeming us in Titus 2: 14 Paul says, “who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his own, eager to do what is good,” (NIV). This passage indicates that part of the purpose that Christ has redeemed us is so that we may do good in our lives. In the third chapter of Titus in verse 1, Paul says, “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good,” (NIV). Here is a second statement about doing what is good and right. Continuing further in the third chapter we read in verse 8, “This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” (NIV). The trustworthy statement that Paul is referring to is the summary of the gospel of Jesus Christ that is found in the preceding verses before verse 8. But the passage also indicates the importance of you and I being involved in doing what is good.
We as evangelical Christians believe that we are saved through faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ. But having been saved by faith through the Lord Jesus Christ, I strongly believe that God has called us into a ministry of good works and a good life. Faith should be the outworking of the Lord Jesus Christ using us to touch other people for the Himself. One of the clearest examples of this picture of faith issuing forth in good works is found in Ephesians 2. In verses 8 and 9, Paul makes it very clear that our salvation is a gift from God as a result of His grace. Verse 8 reads – “For it is by grace that you have been saved through faith – this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God – not of works so that no one can boast,” (NIV). This illustrates that salvation is not the result of good works. But the 10th verse makes a very interesting statement to demonstrate the importance of good works. Paul writes, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in the Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do,” (NIV). The word “for” in verse 10 is connecting the verse with the reason why God has saved us. God has saved us to equip us to live a victorious life of faith in Jesus Christ, but the essential quality of that new life is good works. Good works are an inseparable condition to being disciples of Christ and to the new creation we have become. It is certain that God desires good works for they form a part of His eternal plan for our lives. We are His workmanship created unto good works to do that which is pleasing and acceptable to God. The word “workmanship” is the equivalent of masterpiece and God has called us to walk in the good works that He sets before us. The Christian walk, which implies motion and direction, is to be a walk that is filled to the fullness of the glory of God that is demonstrated through good works. Christianity is not just a creed, but it is a life that is lived in its fullness to serve Christ.
In the Old Testament, the writer of Ecclesiastics writes, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again,” (Ecc.11:1 NIV). I believe this casting are bread upon the waters refers to doing good works and serving the Lord day by day remembering the writer of Ecclesiastics knew all about good works as he had so many things that he was involved in. Also remember the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew’s Gospel when Jesus said, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? What can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done,” (Matt.16:26-27 NIV). Don’t miss the point here that Jesus will be giving out rewards based on what we have done with the opportunities that He has given to us. As we serve the Lord together here at NDC and in other capacities of our lives, let us make sure that we are utilizing the days while there is daylight. Jesus warned us there is a time coming when the darkness will fall, and no one will be able to work. But while there is daylight let us press on in our service for Jesus Christ delighting in the opportunities that he’s put before us. Let us do as Paul instructed Titus to instruct the Cretans that they look for every opportunity to do good and to do good with eagerness and joy in the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s begin by praising God for His great mercy towards us through the Lord Jesus Christ.
All for God’s glory,
Pastor Rich Sivo