Lately I’ve been meeting with God in the book of Titus. In this short, three-chapter letter Paul gives more than a little weight to the importance of good works. Take a look at these statements:
- Speaking of certain unbelievers, Paul says, “They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, ” unfit for any good work” (1:16).
- Speaking of believers, he says that one of the reasons why Jesus redeemed us is to “purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (2:14).
- Speaking to Titus about his teaching, Paul says, “Remind them… to be ready for every good work” (3:1).
- Again, speaking to Titus about his teaching, Paul says he wants Titus to “insist on [the gospel] (which he details in verses 3-7), so that those who have believed God may be careful to devote themselves to good works” (3:8).
- Speaking to believers again, Paul says, “And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful” (3:14).
Be careful to notice how 2:14 and 3:8 bring the gospel into play before they mention good works. Paul emphasizes the importance of good works, but he also wants to make sure they are fueled by gospel-motivation.