One of the stated values here at Kossuth is “God’s glory is our concern.” I was giving thought to this value recently as I read through the book of Titus asking the question: “What place do good works have in the life of the believer?” We all have a natural desire to do good works to make ourselves look good — or at least better than the one next to us to whom we're in danger of being compared (that’s why we never liked the person who came into the class and outperformed everyone!) But when, as believers, we stop and ask ourselves the question, “What place do good works have in my life?” we must be clear that we are not asking, “How I can make myself acceptable to God?” or “How can I make sure that everyone around me thinks I am a good person?”
Even a cursory reading of the letter of the apostle Paul to Titus will show the importance he placed on good works in the lives of believers — after all, he mentions them in every chapter!
It is interesting that at the end of chapter one (1:16), speaking of those in Crete who were "insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers" (1:10), Paul says, "They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work."
In 2:7-8, the apostle Paul exhorts Titus to show himself in all respects "to be a model of good works … so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” Later in that same chapter, he reviews the gracious nature of the salvation of God’s people (both Jews and non-Jews) which trains us to identify and put away ungodly thinking and behavior for the purpose of living lives which have a distinctively different nature (self-controlled, upright, and godly), while waiting for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. These things characterize the lives of the follower of Jesus because the grace of God has made known to them that Jesus Christ came into this world to do more than just save them from hell; he came into this world "to redeem us from all lawlessness" (2:14), and "to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works."
It is important that we ask the question again: What place do good works have in your life as a believer? Would you say that you are zealous for good works?
In chapter three the apostle Paul instructs Titus (3:1): "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work." It would be interesting for each of us to evaluate how we live our lives in light of this standard of measurement.
But the apostle Paul doesn’t stop there! He goes on to review the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ alone! He makes it abundantly clear that it is not because of works done by us in righteousness, but because of the accomplished work of Christ that we are able to inherit eternal life. The work of Christ delivers all that is necessary for the believer to do the good works he or she was saved from sin to do.
This doctrinal review serves as a foundation of the instruction that the apostle Paul gives to Titus "so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works "(3:8). It is interesting how the reader of this letter is moved from being reminded "to be ready for every good work" (3:1) to being exhorted to "be careful to devote themselves to good works" (3:8).
The apostle concludes his letter to Titus by once again stressing the importance of good works in the life of the believer: "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).
As you think about the glory of God being displayed at Kossuth through the service of His people, who could you identify as a model of good works — someone you can watch and learn from? Is there someone who is in a state of readiness to do good works? How might you be able to involve them with you in ministry? How about someone who is taking care to devote themselves to good works? How might you be able to further spur them on in this direction? Is there someone you have noticed who is in the stage of learning to devote themselves to good works? How might you be able to come alongside them as an encourager in taking the next step forward?
Take a few minutes now to thank God for the gifts He has granted to Kossuth and the privilege of serving him together with partners like these. And maybe even write that person a note and let them know how their life is putting the glory of God on display while impacting yours.
Perhaps as a result of reading today you recognize that good works don’t occupy the place in your thinking and living that they ought. Repent of that and then ask God to open your eyes to the many opportunities to put his glory on display through your life so that your life won’t be characterized by unfruitfulness!