The fifth and last trustworthy saying is found in Titus 3:8 and reads: “This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.”
Good works do not produce salvation but salvation produces good works. For sure, salvation is by the grace of God and there is nothing we do to earn it yet true salvation will always produce good works. This is what Apostle Paul is stressing in this trustworthy saying.
The relationship between salvation and good works has sometimes caused confusion but I believe God’s Word clarifies the issue better in the saying. Every Christian is saved to do good works.
The only difference between good works of a Christian and a non-Christian is that a Christian does good as a result of the Holy Spirit who has come into his life. It is this Holy Spirit who motivates and gives the believer the grace and desires to please God by doing what is good.
A non-Christian, on the other hand, will do good works hoping to be accepted by God and usually driven by the natural guilt that is in all those who don’t have Christ due to original sin of our first parents which all of us are born with.
If salvation is solely by the grace of God and not good works, what then will happen to those who practice good works only? Will God not consider their good works at all? Imagine with me, those non-Christians who risks their lives to save others. Those unbelievers who sacrifice everything they have to help the poor, the needy, orphans and widows. Will God not be merciful to them on judgement day?
This is the question I was asked last week and I would like to respond in this way. It is indeed true that salvation is by grace alone and not good works (Ephesians 2:8, 9). What we need to know is that when our first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned, all of us sinned (Romans 5:12) and the only way for salvation is by believing in Christ (John 14:6) and this happens by God’s grace.
Therefore, even if we can do good works, if we have not believed in Christ for salvation, our good works will not be counted at all because behind those good works lies an evil and sinful heart that is in rebellion against God.
You will agree with me that no matter, how beautiful a poisonous snake looks, inside it is venom which kills. Similarly, no matter how beautiful our good works might be, inside us lies an evil and sinful heart that does not love God at all.
Unless Christ comes in and changes our hearts from enemies to the friends of God, our good works remain filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6 )