Titus 3:1-15 – Gospel Do-Gooders

Titus Recap

Titus was a Greek who came to belief in Christ through Paul’s ministry. Paul obviously saw something in Titus was a faithful servant of the Lord and a dedicated aide to Paul. He must have been trustworthy and dependable, since Paul appointed him to lead works in Corinth, Crete, and Dalmatia. Indeed, Paul calls him “my partner and fellow worker” (2 Corinthians 8:23). Knowing the difficult situations in both Corinth and Crete, we can infer that Titus was an insightful man who could handle problems with grace.

In the last few weeks we have talked about order in the church – where Titus was told to establish elders and what those qualifications looked like. We looked at order in our Christian lives and now chapter 3 transitions us to look at what our lives should like as believes to those outside the church

We must be ready for good works. Titus 3:1-3

God saved us in order that we would do good works Ephesians 2:10 reminders that we are created in Christ Jesus for good works. Good works never save but good works flow from those who are saved, the order is crucially important living in a culture that was hostile to the gospel and corrupted by moral sin and every turn Paul admonishes those in Crete to live distinctly different lives he does so by giving them and us principles to live by in verses 1 and 2. principles that stand in stark contrast to how we used to live as described in verse 3.

  • We submit obediently Matt 22:21, Rom 13:1, 1 Peter 2:13-14
  • We serve eagerly  Gal 6:10, Titus 2:14
  • We speak gently 1Cor 13:4-18, Rom 12:18
  • We show humility Phil 2:3-5

What has Jesus saved us from besides the fires of hell and eternal separation from God?

In one word it is sin.  Rom 3:23, Rom 5:12-13

But sin like the mythological Hydra is a many headed creature that attacked and subdued us from every conceivable direction. If we are to see clearly our need for the new birth you must deeply know the nature of our own sin. Paul noted 6 ways in particular that sin enslaves us and held us captive.

Sin Deceives (Foolishness)              Sin Disobeys (Disobedient)

Sin Dictates (Led Astray & Slaves)  Sin Detests (Malice)

Sin Desires (Envy)                            Sin Destroys (Hate)

John 13:35-By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another, we live a life of hate that gave evidence we were disciples of the devil.

This is a picture of who we were but not of who we are. The gospel changed everything. We are now a new creation and are ever ready for good works.

Titus 3:4-7

After showing who we once were, Paul than reveals what has been done for us. At one time in our lives we were dead, doomed, and depraved, but God, says Ephesians 2:4. At one time in our lives we were a spiritual corpse, controlled by our sin nature, satan, and the world, condemned with no hope, no future, but when the kindness of God our savior and his love appeared (Titus 3:4)

God cares for us. Titus 3:4

Paul begins with the basic and beautiful truth that God loves us. In fact both his goodness and his love have made an appearance. This is the 3rd appearing in Titus. We see the grace of God 2:11, the glory of God 2:13 and now the goodness of God in 3:4. This goodness, this love and kindness has its source and God our Savior. The theme of Christ as our Savior appears here for the 5th time out of 6 occurrences and Titus. The kindness of God and his love have as their object mankind, sinners in need of a Savior.

God changes us. Titus 3:5 / John 3:1-15

Here is the the new birth experienced by those who repent of their sin and put their trust completely and exclusively in Jesus Christ. Paul begins by first telling of how regeneration did not happen, countering the false thinking that has plagued humanity for all of our existence. His words could not be clear: He saved us not by works of righteousness that we had done. Salvation is not earned. Regeneration is not something you can work up. You were dead, spiritually without a heartbeat, no pulse, nothing. Any good you had done was like filthy rags in the eyes of a holy God Isaiah 64:6  On your best day you had nothing to give God, and if you have a never realized that, then you have never been saved. No we cannot work our way into heaven. But, Titus 3:4-5 says he saved us according to his mercy. he delivered us from sin and a slavery, rescued us from death hell and the grave. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Regeneration washes us, makes us clean through the new birth. The imagery of washing has nothing to do with baptism, for it is the Holy Spirit who is washing us,not externally but internally. The picture looks back to his Ezek 36:25-27

God has come. for us Titus 3:6

God is generous when he gives us his spirit. Verse 6 says, “whom He poured out the spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Paul is probably referring back to Pentecost and the coming of the spirit in Acts 2. However, what God did then for the believers gathered in the upper room, he now does for every believer in and through regeneration. His spirit comes to be with us and in us abundantly.

God comforts us. Titus 3:7

To be justified means to be declared righteous. By virtue of the imputed righteousness of Christ, we stand before God just as if we had never sinned and just as if we had always obeyed God perfectly. We are not made justified; we are declared justify.

His goodness or kindness moved him to save us v4. His love moved him to save us v4. His mercy moved him to save us v5. His grace moved him to save us v7. Having saved us, regenerated us, renewed us, and justified us. He now comforts us with a word about our future. We are heirs with the hope of eternal life. This is a reality now, though it is not yet our full possession. And there is no question that this inheritance will be received. As a work of our triune God, the Father (4-5), the Son seen in v6 and the Holy Spirit seen in verse 5, it is a signed, sealed, and settled issue.

Titus 3:8

5 times in the Pastoral Epistle, we find the phrase, this saying is trustworthy 1Timothy 1:15,31,49, 2 Timothy 2:11, and Titus 3:8. It usually serves to emphasize the importance of the words that are to follow. Hear the phrase points back to versus 4 through 7.

We should affirm good works.

This trustworthy saying and the words that make it up should be affirmed and affirm constantly. Deuteronomy 6:7.

We should be active in good works.

Those who have been regenerated and renewed by the Holy Spirit are now described simply as those who have believed God. You see, the new birth will result in a new life. Death is replaced by life. The flesh is captive to the spirit. Even works are overcome by good works. Such works are more surely good and profitable for everyone, saved and unsaved, the latter seeing the beauty of our new life and being drawn to the Christ who changed us, the Christ who can change them too!

This is indeed a great reward for those of us who have been regenerated by the gospel of king Jesus.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How can Christians be holy and serve all people without coming across as”holier than thou” or thinking of themselves as superior?
  2. What best describes your life before Christ from v3?
  3. What did you have to do to receive regeneration?
  4. How are you being a beacon of light to the world around you? Does that beacon point back to Christ?
  5. Are you a Gospel Do Gooder? If so, is it for God’s glory or your own? If not, then why not?