Why are you here on earth? Do you ever wonder if you have a purpose, a role? Sometimes people say that there is one thing you can do better than anyone else on earth. What do you think about that? I tend to think there is a better way to look at our purpose on earth. And as we conclude our series of posts on Titus 3:1-8, Paul gets to that. He has just taught about the amazing, life-shaping work that God wants to do in our lives. God wants us to be a part of his family! But does God’s purpose for us stop there? Just to get us in the door? Paul has an answer for us, so let’s follow his thinking.
Paul concludes his teaching in Titus 3:1-8 telling Titus “it is a trustworthy saying! I want you to stress these things.” That means what we have been looking into in this series of posts on Titus 3:1-8 is important! Paul is essentially saying, “Titus, you should teach this. Remind the Christians in Crete of these things. Make sure this doesn’t get lost.”
As he continues, notice at how Paul sees this good news in action. He says, those who trusted in God must be careful to “devote themselves to doing good.”
I think what Paul is saying is fascinating. When you have been transformed, when God’s Spirit is poured out on you, when you have become a part of his family, when you have hope for eternal life, you are so filled with God’s goodness that you devote yourself to doing what is good.
It’s like he’s wrapped back around to verses 1-2, repeating what he said there about how to live Christianly in the world. Now that he has taught through the good news that God wants to change our lives, Paul has given us a strong reason to be good. We’ve been transformed by God. God’s Spirit now energizes and enlivens us to do good in the world.
Does anyone feel déjà vu at this point? If you read the posts in the previous series on Titus 2:11-15, starting here, you might be sensing some familiarity. I felt that as I was studying these passages. Why? Because Paul’s teaching is chapter 3:1-8 is very similar to what he said in 2:11-15. And when someone repeats themselves, that means we would do well to pay extra attention. We don’t want to miss this. Instead we should shape our lives around this. God has lavished us with his grace to save us, yes to give us hope of eternal life, but more importantly for the here and now, to transform us into a people who are devoted to doing good.
Believe it or not, some Christians push back against the idea of doing good in the world. They believe that God is one day going to destroy the world and therefore all Christians needs to do now is focus on eternal life. I’m not going to debate that in this post. Instead, look again at verse 3. In the out of control society in Crete, where the Christians to whom Paul was writing lived, there were certainly behaviors that Paul was saying, “You are not to do that. You are to be different.”
With that desire to be godly, in Titus’ day in Crete, and in our own American Christian history, we can make an error of believing that Christians need to “come out and be separate.” Christians can get the idea that society is so powerfully evil that it will destroy us, and therefore Christians need to remove themselves. But that is not what Paul is saying. Instead, Paul says, Christians are the ones who have already been transformed by God, with his Holy Spirit poured out on us, made a part of his family, with the hope of eternal life, and thus we are to be eager to do good in society. We are called to live out a different kind of life in the midst of society. Not remove ourselves from it, and not just focus people’s attention on life after death. That’s why Paul says “be good” in the midst of it.
Remember the story I started this series of posts with? Check it out here. some people believe that what God really cares about is our life after we die. But in Titus 3:1-8, Paul is saying that Christians have an important mission in the here and now, to be good for the purpose of helping more people become followers of Jesus and for helping our societies embrace the goodness that God wants for all people.
For example, notice what Paul doesn’t say here. Paul could say “Christians in Crete, evacuate! Crete is awful. Move to Jerusalem where the mother church is.” But he doesn’t. He says, “You’ve been changed by Jesus, so you are to be different, and thus you are to do good in the midst of your crazy Cretan society. That will likely make you stand out.”
Christians in society should be clearly demonstrating the changed life of Christ by their goodness. How about you and me?
Younger people, what will it look like for you to do good in your neighborhood and school?
Those of you who work, what will it look like for you to do good in your employment, at your office, with your coworkers, no matter what kind of job you have?
Children, what will it look like for you to do good with your parents?
Parents, what will it look like for you to do good with your kids?
All of us, what ways can we live out the transformed life of Jesus to do good in our community?