The verse highlighted in this article is from Section II of our Investing Challenge.
“And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.”
This verse links two key scriptural concepts, good works and bearing fruit. The importance of these concepts is enormous. See James 2:20 (“faith without works is dead.”) and John 15:2 (“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away:”). However, before the exhortation to good works in Titus 3, Paul established and emphasized the preeminent work of Jesus Christ. An essential prerequisite to any focus on good works is a recognition and gratitude for the salvation, sanctification, and hope we have because of “the kindness and love of God . . . according to his mercy . . . through Jesus Christ . . . by his grace” and expressly “not by works of righteousness which we have done.” Titus 3:4-7. This preliminary understanding cannot be stressed enough as Jesus warned in Matthew 7: doing “wonderful works” without the right relationship with Jesus Christ is “iniquity.”
But in the perfect balance of scripture, we are also warned that there are those who claim to “know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” Titus 1:16. For indeed, those who have accepted Life through Christ are “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. Thus, our faith in Christ is evidenced by our works as it says in James 2. Good works are not so much about doing good things for God as it is letting God do good things through you.
Having a proper understanding of the position and importance of good works, the nature of our “good works” can vary tremendously, but they should be practically beneficial (“for necessary uses”). From making coats (Acts 9:36-39) to giving money (I Timothy 6:17-19), we are to follow the example and leading of Jesus, who did many good works (John 10:32).
Young men are particularly exhorted to be engaged in good works. Titus 2:6-7. Our example is Jesus. Jesus did not grow “in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52) by excelling in sports or video games (or their historic equivalents:). Rather, I confidently believe that Jesus demonstrated a “pattern of good works” in his youth.
As we learn to “maintain good works” and “be not unfruitful,” we must be mindful that we cannot bear fruit ourselves, for without Christ we can do nothing. John 15:4-5. Rather, as a branch relies on a vine, our focus must be on Christ and allowing Him to live through us. For “cares” and “riches” and “pleasures” can choke out the Life of Christ in us causing us to “bring no fruit to perfection.” Luke 8:14. But if we are willing to die to ourselves to receive Christ’s Life, we will bear “much fruit.” John 12:24.
So keep looking to Jesus “who gave Himself for us,” and let Him empower us to be “people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:14.
BTW, wouldn’t it be awesome if when you die, those who knew you would want to raise you from the dead? 🙂 That’s what happened to Tabitha, who was full of “good works.” (Acts 9:36-42.)