29 April 2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
8 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. These things are good and profitable unto men. 9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. 10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; 11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
12 When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter. 13 Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them. 14 And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful. 15 All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen. Titus 3:8-15
At even the most subtle suggestion that the Christian life should be evidenced by good works, a charge is made that we are advocating salvation by works. If good works are not evidence of Christian conviction, then what evidence should we seek? Good works prior to salvation is of no avail – in fact all the works of a sinner is sin – even plowing. “To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.” Proverbs 21:3-4 (KJV) But once the elect has received grace and mercy, his old self-will is surrendered and he takes upon his soul the Will of the Heavenly Father to do that Will and not his own (which is always a sinful will). The idea that doing good is not the character of a Christian is to embrace the heresy of antinomianism – or the rejection of God’s Moral Law as binding on the believer. It seems embecilic that any rational soul could accept such a depraved idea, but many have been deceived by the repetition of such a heresy from many pulpits. The biblical knowledge of many has become so incomplete as to make them vulnerable to the deceits of the false prophets.
“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. These things are good and profitable unto men.” Just as the false prophets deceive many by often repeated falsehoods, so is true doctrine more readily planted with the deep roots of repetition. Both clergy and laity should constantly affirm the truth of good works following grace. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV) If these verses above were all that relate to the question, and they are not, these would be sufficient to establish the doctrine of good works following grace. The Christian must be mindful always, and careful, to do good works reflecting that same Spirit of the Good Samaritan.
“But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.” The library is full of books of would-be theologians who consider the gnat always to be larger than the camel. They use terms that are foreign to the understanding of the simple Bible believer and argue ad infinitum over pretended theological concepts that they neither understand themselves, nor can explain to the rest of us in meaning. They question the simplicity of the Scriptures. The Lord Jesus Christ – the Author of our Doctrine and Faith – never used such arcane terms in His teaching – nor did His apostles. The Serpent of the Garden always begins with some misguided question about Scripture – “Hath God said?” It matters not the bloodlines and genealogies of our descent. Whether Jew or Gentile, there is only one true Israel of God and that Israel is the one that believes the Promise of a Redeemer made to Abraham. We are spiritual Children of the Promise, not of some physical, human bloodline.
I am very amenable to reading the Church Fathers and the works of great and Godly men of the past, but I love their works – not because they question Scripture – but because they do NOT! They expound upon Scripture in ways that reduce the complexity in our minds to the simple truths that lay there already covered by the dust of prideful ignorance. So, reading those men such as Matthew Henry, J.C. Ryle, Calvin or others, I admire the works because I can verify all that they say by Holy Writ. But let us not get carried away with intellectualism over simple truth. “The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:11-14 (KJV) Yes, I have an inordinate love for books – I inherited the inclination from my father – but there is only one Book that really matters to me, and mattered to my father, and that is the Holy Bible.
“A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” We realize that many, out of a good and charitable heart, fill duty bound to expend endless effort in convincing heretics of the error of their ways; I do not waste my time once I realize they have rejected truth for lies. The truth is too valuable to be reduced to the level of the gutter-dwellers. Our time will be more wisely invested in seeking out and teaching the ignorant and attentive sinner of the grace that God has made available through our Lord Jesus Christ. Those who are teachable are of far greater worth than those who expect to convert you from truth to lies. I beg no man to come to my church. I serve a great King; in fact, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I need beg no one to accept Him. I simply expound the truth of God’s Word with all the power and force the Holy Spirit will grant. If the listener accepts that truth upon biblical confirmation of it, good. If not, his blood is upon his own head for rejecting it. Such ones are condemned by the words of their own mouths.
Paul closes with a benedictory address concerning future visitation. Finally, he closes the Book of Titus with this reinforcing reminder: “And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful. All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.” The part I cherish most of this last text is this: “let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.” I love to see churches that do more than build opulent structures and enormous bank accounts. I am always inspired to see the small and very poor churches going out into the community to bring children to the church who have no money, or feeding the homeless. There is a small church of less than fifty members near my home whose greater membership are children of less that 14 years of age. The minister is a brick-layer. He uses his own money to reach children for Christ. He does far more in the teaching of children than one of the largest churches in our community with a monthly income of more than one million dollars. This is solid evidence shown by souls who have known, and practice, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. The institution of the Church is built of tender hearts, not stone masonry and prestige.
This concludes our brief study of the Book of Titus. I pray that you have found it of interest and of benefit to your spiritual studies.