This is the seventh post in the “Rebuilding the Foundations” series. According to WordPress, about 180 of you read yesterdays’ post and another 80 or so have been on the blog this morning. I hope that means some of you have taken up the challenge to find the verses from which I drew the eight claims I made yesterday.
Here they are in the order I presented them yesterday:
Paul tells Titus to “affirm constantly” that God’s people should carefully maintain good works. It turns out “affirm constantly” (KJV) is better translated “affirm confidently” as in the NASB or “stress” as in the NIV.
We are to “consider” how to provoke one another to love and good works. The Greek words in that verse are very interesting. “Consider” involves knowing your fellow Christian by thinking about them, and the purpose is to “incite” or “irritate” them so they do good works. Wow!
2 Timothy 3:16-17
This says that all Scripture is inspired, and its use is to teach, admonish, correct, and instruct in righteousness. These uses of Scripture have a purpose, and the purpose is to thoroughly equip us to do good works.
Grace, the grace that brings salvation, teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in this present age. This doesn’t directly say grace teaches us to do good works, but it follows from the context. It is only ten verses later that Paul says to confidently affirm that God’s people should be careful to do good works (3:8, cited above). If that is not enough of a confirmation that a major purpose of grace is to produce good works in you, there is another in the next section.
The next time you exhort someone in regard to obedience to God, and the person replies with, “Remember, brother, we are saved by grace,” you can tell them, “exactly why I was exhorting you to do good.”
This passage will be critically important as we go along.
For by grace are you in a state of being saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of yourselves, so that no one will be able to boast. For you are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to go good works, which God has prepared in advance that we should walk in them.
I put emphasis on “his” because I think that word is the emphasis of that last sentence.
This passage has to do both with grace and being born again. Both have as a final purpose that we will do good works, and we learn here that God has specific good works he has planned for us to do in advance!
A related passage would be 2 Corinthians 5:15-17, which begins by telling us that Jesus died so that we would live for him, then tells us that we are new creations in him.
This is very direct. Jesus gave himself to redeem us from all lawlessness and purify for himself a people that are “zealous for good works.”
Everyone knows verses 7 and 8 of this chapter, but few pause to notice verse 9. In verse 8, those who sow to the Spirit are promised eternal life. In verse 9, those who do not get tired of doing good are promised to reap something if they do not grow weak and drop out. In context that something they reap has to be eternal life, and once again it is associated with patiently continuing to do good as it was in Romans 2:6-7.
1 Peter 1:17
This is the verse from which I got the claim that Christians will be judged by works. I could have used 2 Corinthians 5:10 but, again, everyone knows that verse. 1 Peter 1:17 says that everyone that calls God Father needs to spend their tour of earth in reverential fear because he will judge them impartially according to their works. It really says that; look it up.
What I wanted you to see today was that the focus, or at least one focus, of everything that has to do with our salvation—the atonement (Titus 2:13-14), grace (Titus 2:11-12), being born again (Eph. 2:8-10), walking in the Spirit (Gal. 6:8-9), the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and the judgment (1 Pet. 1:17)—is either purposed toward or strongly attached to good works.
In the next post, we will look at why that is. We will also look at the relationship between good works and eternal life in Romans 2:6 and Galatians 6:8-9. This will lead us to the judgment, which will begin the process of clearing up many supposedly difficult verses in the New Testament.
We have just a couple steps left, but I promise you that this series not only leads to a solid understanding of Scripture, but it will bring us to a few posts in which we get to revel in the amazing height, depth, width, and breadth of the salvation of Christ. From there we will talk about faith, obtaining the riches of that redemption, and the incredible power God has for you to walk in his salvation.
I got way ahead of myself out of excitement. Next post: good works and eternal life. Why are they tied together?