“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14)
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24). At this very moment, you are running a race. You are running a race even if you are sitting on the bus reading these words on your phone, even if you are reading this to take a break from the drudgery of your work. Everywhere and at all times you are running the race of all races, the Christian life. The question is not if you are running but how. Are you running well or running poorly? Are you out for a leisurely jog, or are you sprinting hard with your eyes on the prize? Through the living Word, the Apostle Paul pleads with you, “Run to win! Run to win the prize!”
I am calling men away from apathy toward a zealous pursuit of the imperishable prize, away from worthless habits toward godly disciplines, away from aimless wandering toward purposeful living. It is fitting that we begin with the matter of purpose, for only when you know your purpose will you be motivated to run this race and to run it with all the effort required to win it. Only then will you be able to share the joyful conviction of George Whitefield, who declared, “I am never better than when I am on the full stretch for God.” If you are going to run to win, if you are going to be on the full stretch for God, you must embrace your purpose.
The Purpose of Your Salvation
Why did God save you? Paul tells you exactly why: “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14). A few observations:
First, God saves you to sanctify you. God extends his saving mercy to you so he can undo the deep damage caused by your sin. In a moment he redeems you, and over a lifetime he purifies you, teaching you to hate and renounce whatever is ungodly and to love and pursue whatever is worthy. As you walk with Christ, you find a new longing to put to death those old deeds and the desires that motivated them and to bring to life new deeds born of purer desires (Colossians 3:1-17). This is called “sanctification,” the lifelong process of becoming holy. God saves you to sanctify you, to restore you to the life he intended for you before you gave yourself to sin.
Second, God saves and sanctifies you so you can do good to others. Your sanctification has a purpose: to make you “zealous for good works.” Good works are deeds that are done not first for your own good but for the good of others. You are called to put aside the natural selfishness that once controlled you and to put on the Christ-like selflessness that compels you to bless others. You are to live as a good-works extremist, a man who will stop at nothing to be a blessing to others. “We are [God’s] workmanship,” says Paul, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
Third, God does all things for his glory. God does not save you so he can make much of you, but so you can make much of him. The good deeds you do are not meant to make yourself look great but to make God look great. They stand as proof of the great change he has worked within you, for only by his grace can you turn your desires away from your own comfort, your own enrichment, your own fame. “Let your light shine before others,” says Jesus, “so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Men, this is your purpose: to bring glory to God by doing good for others. This means your life is not first about you. You’re not the point of your existence or the hero of your salvation. You were created by God and for God. You were saved to bring glory to God by doing good to others. This is your purpose.
Share your thoughts about these two questions with your group:
Q1. Find just one sentence from today’s devotion that interests you or raises a question for you. Explain in your own words what you think that sentence means.
Q2. One thing that the passage above speaks about is good works. However, good works are the teachings of all religions, not just Christianity. So, what is the difference between good works taught in the Bible and those taught by other religions?