Paul’s aim was to teach a “truth that leads to godliness” (Titus 1:1).
The Apostle was very clear! He taught that salvation is not earned by works of righteousness, but according to the marvelous mercy and great grace of the Savior (Titus 3:5). Paul taught that we “are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do”(Ephesians 2:8–10). Good works don’t save, but we are saved to do good works!
In addition, he proclaimed that redeemed people must “walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love”(Ephesians 4:1–2). Paul commanded Titus to “proclaim things consistent with sound teaching” (Titus 2:1) and to encourage the Cretans to live as an “example of good works with integrity and dignity” (Titus 2:6).
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people for his own possession, eager to do good works” (Titus 2:11–14). The truth transforms! We must “deny godlessness and worldly lusts” and “live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way!”
Three times in the third chapter, Paul admonished Titus to teach the church in Crete to do “good works!”
Paul admonished Titus to “remind them to submit to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to slander no one, to avoid fighting, and to be kind, always showing gentleness to all people” (Titus 3:1–2).
“I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed God might be careful to devote themselves to good works. These are good and profitable for everyone” (Titus 3:8).
“Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works for pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful” (Titus 3:14).
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Salvation leads to a transformed life. Jesus said it this way:“Every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit”(Matthew 7:15–20).
Paul warned Titus that there would be those that “claim to know God, but they deny him by their works” (Titus 1:16).
There’s a cautionary note here for us... we might be wise to inspect the fruit that is being produced in our lives...
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.