Paul wrote his letter to Titus in AD 63 after the apostle’s release from his first Roman imprisonment. Paul accompanied Titus to the island of Crete, where he left Titus there to lead and organize the island’s churches. While salvation by grace through faith and not of good works has been Paul’s emphasis, here in this epistle he put good works in the right perspective for a Christian less he thinks that good works are no longer necessary once a person becomes a Christian.
Salvation will result in good works
Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness…
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…
Here Paul teaches that if we know the truth, meaning we know the right way to God, this conversion will lead to godliness. While good works are not a condition for salvation, they are the results of salvation. A genuine convert who has true faith in Jesus and not just professing faith will experience an inward transformation due to the work of the Holy Spirit.
2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
We are saved for good works
Titus 3:8 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.
There is a term called “cheap grace” to refer to people who think that since they are saved by faith and not good works, doing good does not really matter. Once saved, a person could live his life anyway he wants. This is wrong thinking. We may not be saved by good works but we are certainly saved for good works.
Once we are saved, the Holy Spirit dwells within us and gives us the ability to say no to sin and do good works. God wants our life to shine as a beacon so that the world may see what a difference God has made in our lives.
Leaders must be known for their good works
Titus 1:6 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
Titus 2:7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
Genuine salvation always results in good works as the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts and does the transforming work. Therefore, every Christian should lead holy lives and be known for their good works to those who do not yet know God. However, Christian leaders have an added responsibility to lead holy lives as they have to set an example to their followers. People don’t do what we preach; they do what they see us doing. Our actions speak louder than our words. Are you being a good example to the flock that God has placed in your care?
Teach others to do good works
Titus 2:2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. 3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.
It is not enough to set an example by doing good, Christian leaders need to teach these things explicitly to their followers. The right way of living should always be guided by Scripture and not our own personal opinion of what is right or wrong.
Good works in society
Titus 3:1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
Our good works extend beyond our personal life. We have a responsibility to do good in society too. Paul admonishes us to be subject to governing authorities and not to do whatever is unlawful. The verse goes beyond not doing what is unlawful to doing good in society.