Being Good, Doing Good
Pastor Steve Ellison
The Apostle Paul trained and equipped Titus to oversee the churches on the island of Crete. Paul wrote Titus a letter which is part of the New Testament. That letter is mainly a set of instructions for Titus’ work. There is a consistent theme running through the letter. That theme includes two very closely related ideas: “being good” and “doing good”. Titus was tasked with developing leaders for the churches. Paul wanted to make absolutely sure that Titus understood that integrity and moral goodness are the most important characteristics for a church leader. I do not find any mention of necessary skills in the book. Rather, what I do find is a consistent call to be good and do good. Titus 2:11-14 seems to highlight the theme, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” NASU
Christ redeemed us to purify us as His own special possession. Christ wants to make us zealous for good deeds. Many of us are zealous about a lot of things like our jobs, our families, our hobbies, etc. but few of us are zealous for good deeds. Titus 2:14 emphasizes this theme. The rest of the book fills in the details, telling us what a church leader ought to be and do. Titus 1:8 tells us that we ought to love what is good. We only become godly when we love what God loves and hate what God hates. Titus 2:3 states that we should be teaching what is good. Church leaders have a responsibility to teach and train church members in what is good. Four verses later, we are told that in all things we should show ourselves to be an example of good deeds. Our teaching will be of no avail if we do not model those values we are teaching. Titus 2:10 states that church leaders are to show all good faith.
Titus 3:1 tells us to be ready for every good deed. It seems that it is easier to be ready for bad deeds. Being ready for every good deed requires some preparation, a setting of the will, a commitment to a lifestyle of sacrifice. In fact 3:8 tells us to be careful to engage in good deeds. Indeed, if I am not careful, I will be engaging in bad deeds. Paul laid it out pretty plainly for Titus and us in Titus 3:14, “Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.” NASU Church leaders clearly have a responsibility to teach church members to engage in good deeds. Church members clearly have a responsibility to do their part in learning to engage in good deeds.
While Paul focused mainly on the positive aspects of being and doing good in the book of Titus, he did include a very sobering statement regarding the negative aspect of this idea of being and doing good. Titus 1:16 “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.” NASU It is plain that no matter what we claim about knowing God, our deeds reveal the truth about our relationship to God. Titus 2:11-14 told us that Christ is in the process of making us zealous for good deeds. Titus 1:16 demonstrates that we can become worthless for any good deed. That is sobering indeed. ……..…..firstname.lastname@example.org