We often need reminders in life. We need reminders in normal seasons of life and reminders in unprecedented seasons as well. In the Bible, Paul wrote to Titus to remind him of the importance of meeting pressing needs of those around us.
Titus 3 — 1 Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, 2 to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. 3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. …. 14 Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.
Reminder 1: The purpose of salvation
It is a good reminder to think about how salvation is to impact us. Sometimes we think everything is about us. Sometimes we can even view salvation like it is first and foremost about us. But in fact, it is about God revealing His glory (2 Cor. 4:6, Heb. 1:3, Phil. 2:9-11); God revealing how wonderful He is. We are to marvel and glorify Him when we learn that He died for His enemies (cf Rom 5:8-10), to make His enemies part of His forever family. Note Titus 3 verse 4, “…when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared.” Our salvation is to display how our God is the Great Deliverer, the Savior, the hero of the story of mankind….because our story is really His story. Our salvation is about our God who saves.
So then, it follows that a right view of salvation does not respond by living inwardly as if it were about us. We see in verse 2 that there is to be a change, a reorientation of our lives as we are not enslaved to our own various lusts. A right view of salvation is to then mentally connect our deliverance with our purpose to bring Him glory and honor in the way we serve other people with love and good deeds.
Reminder 2: The proper order of salvation and good deeds
Verse 5 says, “He saved us not on the basis of deeds we have done in righteousness….” The Gospel is clear that we are not delivered because of our good works. When we embrace the Gospel, we see that wonderful juxtaposition with good works…that now because of salvation we are to engage in good works wholeheartedly.
The text says, “Those who believe God will be careful to engage in good deeds.” It goes on to say, “Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.” We like Titus and the people to whom Titus was ministering, need reminders to engage in good works and to keep learning how to engage in good deeds as times and circumstances change. We must be proactive in this, lest we drift back to a self-centered way of life that is not focused on the glory of God our Savior.
Reminder 3: The motivation for good deeds
Simply put, we were saved to do good deeds. They were laid out for us to walk in after salvation.
Consider what Paul wrote to the Ephesians.
Ephesians 2:8–10 — 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Secondly, it is good and profitable for us. It bears fruit for the glory of God. Good deeds have a good result, not only in others’ lives, but in your life. You become more like your Savior. What is more profitable than that? Newsflash: Nothing!
Reminder 4: Be ready for good deeds
Paul writes to Titus to remind God’s people about good works, how to relate to their authority, and ultimately, to be ready and not surprised by opportunities which God has laid out for them.
He says, “1 Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, 2 to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.”
Right now, the best good deed you can do is show consideration for others, and that means following the direction of our authority. In addition, you can engage in good deeds from afar: call, write cards, get on Nextdoor.com and be available to help, give blood, or help with childcare for medical personal. We have a number of good deed ideas and opportunities on our Corona Virus Response and Resources page.
To be ready means connecting good works to the Gospel in the proper way each and every day. If you think about your salvation, (that it is not by good works, but that you were saved by God’s grace to bring Him glory through good works as a result of salvation), then you can be ready and on the lookout for all the good works for which God saved you.
Consider yourself loved and reminded.