March 3, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. . . . Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.”—Titus 2:11–14, 3:1–2 (NIV)
What would it take for people to really think well of Christians, where they’d look on and see Christians as the examples, the pillars of the community, and as trustworthy and wise people? Where, like Job, we could honestly say, “All who saw me spoke well of me.”
A recent Lifeway survey of several thousand people cited that “72% said they think the church is full of hypocrites” and “44 percent said Christians get on my nerves.” Ed Stetzer concluded: “There will always be the stumbling block of the cross. Yet our study shows that many are tripping over the church before they hear the message of the cross.”
So, what must we do? What will it take to remove stumbling blocks and open doors so we can share the gospel?
Titus 2 and 3 shows us two keys:
Do you see it? The gospel at work in us must lead to good works. So, how do we do that?
Look again at the counsel above from Paul. In the Greek, these phrases convey a sense of being on the edge of your seat, eager, excited, looking for any opportunity to walk in good works and serve his or her community. This should be the attitude of every follower of Jesus—to be people who are like sprinters in position at the starting line just waiting for the whistle to blow on a good work that can be carried out in Jesus’ name!
At its core, this letter reveals to us why doing good matters. It’s not for salvation. It’s a fruit of it . . . because the gospel in us must result in dynamic good works!
And by the way, when I say “good works,” I don’t want you to interpret that as being a little better and doing some nice things for people. When you read good works, what I want you to see and understand is this idea of being filled, inspired, equipped, and moved by the Spirit to accomplish the work that God has prepared in advance for you to do. Those are true good works, the works of God in and through us. In fact, you could replace “good works” with “God works” because as Philippians 2:13 (NIV) says, “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
You see, good works are a byproduct of the Holy Spirit of God entering into our human hearts and changing the way we speak, think, and act. And here in Titus 2 and 3, Paul describes how that looks in every arena from church life, to home life, to public life regardless of our sex, season, or station. Because when we do, when we walk in the awareness of the gospel and live out the good works God has ordained for us in the church, our homes, and the world, we can make an impact and see revival happen in our generation!
Pause: What does it look like to be devoted, ready, and eager to do what is good?
Practice: Today, remind yourself of the gospel. Read it in Titus 3:4–7, Ephesians 2:4–5, Philippians 2:6–8, Colossians 2:13–14, and 2 Corinthians 5:21. Soak it in. Let the words penetrate every corner of your heart and mind. As it does, pray and ask the Lord how in light of all He’s done for you in Christ, how does He desire for you to show the goodness of the gospel through your life today.
Pray: Father, there’s no greater good than Your gospel, than the work of Christ in the world and in my life. Thank You for the gospel! Thank You that today and every day I can be reminded of what Jesus has done for me and, that in light of all He’s done for me and how He’s saved and sanctified me, I can walk in goodness and show the power of the gospel through my life as You have ordained. May I walk faithfully in the good works You have prepared for me that display the glory of Christ to all. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.