The Scriptorium

...So That Now...

We work out, not for, our salvation. Titus 3.7, 8

Titus 3


Pray Psalm 115.12-15.

The LORD has been mindful of us;
He will bless us;
He will bless the house of Israel;
He will bless the house of Aaron.
He will bless those who fear the LORD,
Both small and great.
May the LORD give you increase more and more,
You and your children.
May you be blessed by the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

Read Titus 3.7, 8.

Prepare.
1. What does it mean that we are “heirs” of God? What do we inherit? Why?

2. What are we supposed to be careful to do as heirs?

Meditate.
Here Paul holds out the long-term prospect of our salvation and the short-term agenda by which we journey to that eternal condition.

Eternal life is the believer’s by grace through faith; but eternal life is more than merely going to heaven when we die. Eternal life involves knowing God and Jesus Christ (Jn. 17.3), both forever in glory, but now as well – and with demonstrable effects. The use of the subjunctive (“should become heirs”) indicates that it is every believer’s responsibility to make his calling in the Lord sure (2 Pet. 1.10). We must not presume on the Lord’s goodness and lovingkindness; instead, those who have come to know the saving grace of the Lord will take up the calling of working out (not for) their salvation in fear and trembling by the power of the Spirit of God at work in them (Phil. 2.12, 13; Eph. 3.20). Thus, true believers are they who are “careful to maintain good works”. Why? Because “these things” are good – they reflect the character of God and His Law, thus demonstrating love for Him – and they are profitable for others – according to God’s Word.

How can we know we are saved? How can a person be certain that he has passed from the darkness of fallenness and unbelief into the new age of redemption and restoration? Has he believed in God through Jesus Christ? Is he devoted to good works? Are love for God and neighbor evident and increasing? If so, as Peter says, we may be assured that we have passed from death to life through the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 1.8-11).

A church is “in order” under the watchful, caring ministries of its shepherds, when the reality of the Kingdom is evident and increasing among them. It is each church member’s duty to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness so that the church can grow in unity and maturity, manifesting the fullness of Jesus Christ to the watching world (Matt. 6.33; Eph. 4.11-16). And yet, even this is a work of the grace of God (Phil. 2.13).

Reflect.
1. What is involved in being careful to maintain good works? Why should we do this?

2. Why has God justified us? How? For what purpose?

3. How important did Paul think the message of doing good works was? Should we expect anything less from our own shepherds?

He wishes the people to be instructed in such a manner that "they who have believed God," may be solicitous, above all things, about good works. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Titus 3.8

Help me today, all day long, to be careful to maintain good works, for I am the heir of Your grace and salvation, Lord, and I will show this to my Personal Mission Field today by…

Pray Psalm 115.14-18.
The Lord has given you a portion of the earth to serve – your Personal Mission Field. How will you praise and serve Him in it today?

Sing Psalm 115.14-18.
Psalm 115.14-18 (Plainfield: Nothing But the Blood of Jesus)
Grant us, Savior, great increase – ever to Your Name be glory!

Bless us with eternal peace – ever to Your Name be glory!

Heaven and earth are Yours; let every soul adore

and bless You evermore: Ever to Your Name be glory!

T. M. Moore

What are church leaders supposed to do in leading the Lord’s flock? Our workbook, Shepherding God’s Flock, will show you how to bring effective pastoral ministry and disciple-making into the everyday life of your church. Order your copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.