Doing Good – It’s What You Do (Titus 3:1-8)

Most commercials and advertisements are truly lost on me. Even after seeing a commercial many times and even memorizing some of the lines, I often cannot recall what is the actual product being sold. But that is not true of the GEICO clips, as I think they are very creative. If you’re a parrot, you repeat things (maybe that you shouldn’t), it’s what you do. If you’re Tarzan and Jane (a typical couple) you argue about directions, it’s what you do.

If you’re a person who is merely of this world, seeking only its pleasures and amenities, you are rebellious, contentious, inconsiderate and self-focused, it’s what you do. But if you’re consciously God’s child and an heir of eternity, you are devoted to doing good in the Lord’s name, it’s just what you do.

So if you are the latter rather than the former, act like the latter and not the former. Paul writes to 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.

3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 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.

I don’t think there is a better summary of the gospel anywhere in the Bible than what is in this passage in verse five. You may recall an evangelistic emphasis we had a few years ago that we called “The 3:5 Project.”

Prior to the Lord’s work in our lives, there was a natural way of living that involved self-centered passions and pleasures. But then there was a radical change when God’s grace arrived upon the scene of our experience.

We tend to think, especially as entrepreneurial Americans, that one only gets what one works for, earns and deserves. That is honorable for basic life needs and responsibilities, but it will not work for eternal life. The deeds or works spoken of in verse five translates a word from Greek that describes what one undertakes to do … an enterprise or undertaking. The verse is therefore saying that there is no good set of things that we may undertake to do that can possibly save us. Rather, it is all a work of God to wash us from sin and renew us in His righteousness – the perfect standard.

This grace was poured out – literally dumped over us – by God’s grace. The result is that we possess a new status as an heir of eternal life. An heir is someone with rights and privileges that are not yet realized, but are guaranteed.

But all of this is not just an insurance plan or ticket of escape from hell. It is rather that a new devotion will rise within us to be different than before all of this happened, that rather we will live a life devoted to doing what is good … good works.  The works follow the salvation as a natural byproduct; they don’t precede salvation as a payment to obtain it.

If doing good as a lifestyle of devotion does not naturally follow and flow from our grace experience, it is symptomatic of something that is terribly wrong. It might be a lack of standing, or a lack of understanding, but it certainly should not involve just standing around. Understand?

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This entry was posted in Nuts and Bolts and tagged by Randy Buchman. Bookmark the permalink.

About Randy Buchman

I live in Western Maryland, and among my too many pursuits and hobbies, I regularly feed 3-4 hungry blogs. I played college baseball, coached championship cross country teams at Williamsport (MD) High School, and am the editor of a Baltimore/Maryland sports blog called "The Baltimore Wire." My main profession is as the lead pastor of a church in Hagerstown called Tri-State Fellowship. And I'm active in Civil War history and work/serve at Antietam National Battlefield with a Guides organization. Occasionally I sleep.

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