Titus 2: 11-15:
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
If you are like me, sometimes you read the Bible and it just sounds like a whole lot of things I have to do to get on the right track to God. It’s easy to think that we have to earn our Heavenly Father’s affirmation, just like we do other people. The thought process is often like this:
Why would God send his son to die for me? How incredible that Jesus came to Earth, lived a perfect life and died a painful death on the cross in my place, for my sins… Surely I am indebted to him and must spend my lifetime proving to him that I was worth it… I need to be a good Christian.
Wow, there is a whole lot of “me” and “I” happening. How quickly we forget that “by grace we have been saved through faith. And this is not our own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).” It is so not about us! We have this desire to somehow have control of our own salvation but again and again, scripture reminds us that we did nothing! Praise Jesus for what He has done for us.
That being said, as we follow Him and we get to know Him better we should desire to be more and more like Him and live in a way that is pleasing to Him. Jesus teaches in John 15 “I am the vine and you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” Sometimes fruit and good works can look similar at face value and this can be confusing. We may choose to reach out to the new kid in class, take out the trash for Mom and Dad at home without being asked, be a role model student or attend every church function, but what is the motivation beneath it? Are we doing those things to earn our own salvation or are we doing them in response to God’s grace as a product of the flourishing relationship we have with Him? Can we liken ourselves to the branch that remains in Him and life (the Holy Spirit) pulses through it to produce a crop or “fruit?”
While our own works do not save us, we should desire to do “good.” Titus 2 says that we should be eager to do just that. As we come to grasp the magnitude of His gift of grace, more and more it “teaches us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, up-right and godly lives.”