Over these last many years, we of the grace community have fought hard to proclaim loudly what God has done to us and for us in the finished work of Christ! We have heralded that we have been crucified and resurrected with Jesus, and that we are seated in heaven with Him right now. We have embraced by faith, the glory that we have been made righteous, that we are the children of God, and that we are now saints and no longer sinners (Oh we sin sometimes, but that is no longer how we identify ourselves). We stand confidently in what God has declared in Colossians 2:13, that we have been completely forgiven of ALL our sins.
I trust that it will always be our agenda to herald these and so many other wonderful truths in the New Covenant that the body of Christ desperately needs to know.
I wonder though, if we have focused so much on what has been done, that we might be neglecting what needs to be done! You see, God did all those things to us and for us so that His LIFE could flow through us! Ours mission as Ambassadors of Christ, is not just to herald a message, but to live radically, expressing the life of Jesus through our own unique personhood. Case in point: Titus 3:8. Paul begins with the phrase, “This is a faithful saying.”
We need to pay close attention to that phrase. When Paul uses that phrase, he is letting us know that what he is about to say is very important. It is interesting that this phrase is unique to the Pastoral letters, Timothy, Titus and Philemon. Those are significant letters because Paul had just been released from his first imprisonment, which made clear to him that he was a man on borrowed time. Men on borrowed time speak with great intensity. They do not have the luxury of conversing about the weather, sports and politics. With that in mind, Paul coined this phrase, “This is a faithful statement,” to communicate a dying man’s most important words to those he would soon be leaving behind.
For example, when Paul said, “This is a faithful saying” in I Timothy 1:15, the next phrase was “Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Now that is a very important statement! Dear Ones, when we see the phrase, “This is a trustworthy saying”, we need to quicken our mind, open our heart, and prepare our will. Ours is not only to hear what he is about to say, but to order our lives in accordance with the truth he is heralding.
So, what followed that phrase in Titus 3:8? There Paul said, ““This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.”
Let’s break down this faithful saying so we can lay hold of it fully. First Paul says we are to “be careful” – the word means to be aware, sensitive and serious. What is it we are to be serious about? The answer is, “Maintaining good works.” The Greek word there is proistasthai, and it means to be devoted to, or take the lead. I personally like the translation “be the best.” If we have believed in Christ, if we truly understand the glory of God’s grace, we should be diligent to be the best. And what does Paul say is the arena in which we are to be the best?
Doing good works! Though we are not saved by good works, and are not kept by works, we are to be known as those who lead in good works. This makes total sense when we understand that in the New Covenant economy. Because of the finished work of Jesus, He now lives inside us (Colossians 1:27). He is now our Life (Colossians 3:3-4), His Spirit has been placed in union with our spirit (I Corinthians 6:17), and we now live by the faith of the Son of God (Galatians 2:20). In other words, the good works we are doing are actually the fruit of the Lord Jesus living His life in and through us by faith.
In other words, the grace of God never makes us lazy or slack in our walk with God. It actually intensifies our walk as we release the LIFE of Jesus to the world around us. Grace people are designed by God to be the best servants, the best friends, the best helpers, the best worshippers, and supremely the best lovers! I have a plaque on my wall that says, “Do the kindest things in the kindest way” – That is what real Grace People do. It just comes naturally to them, because the “GOOD ONE” lives in them, and expresses Himself and His goodness through them.
Let me put it this way: We are to so live our lives that other people see the new and beautiful hearts we have been given in the New Covenant economy (Ezek. 36), and be prompted to ask, “Where do I get a heart like that?”
Then, we can simply introduce them to the One Who transformed our lives – so that through faith, they too can have their life transformed as He becomes their life too. We as believers are to be careful, to be the best in good works. Now that is a faithful saying indeed!