If I heard my momma say it once, I heard her say it a thousand times: “Be good!” It was as predictable as the sunrise. I, too, have said it over and over to my own children. No explanation was necessary. We understood those two little words. Be. Good.
But why? Our parents knew we could get into trouble that would be foolish, destructive, or even dangerous. They wanted us to have fun and be safe, not hurt ourselves or others, and not break any laws that could hinder our forward movement into adulthood. They had our best interests in mind.
But why should we be good now? We are all adults here. Surely we don’t have to worry so much about being foolish or hurtful? We are smart enough to avoid being caught if we break the law, aren’t we? Why is there such a premium set on being or doing good?
Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 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.”
In his personal letter to Titus, the apostle Paul had a great deal to say about why we are to be “eager to do what is good.” God’s grace has come into our lives and teaches us to “say “no” to all kinds of bad things. But, why? Is it to secure our salvation and heavenly hope? No, no, no, no, no! NO!
Titus 3:4, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”
Paul clarifies that our salvation rests only on the “kindness and love of God our Savior” appearing in Christ. He saves us because He loves us – “not because of good things we have done, but because of His mercy.” Don’t ever think that you are more or less saved by what you do or don’t do. It is never up to you. It is always because of God’s love and mercy!
And yet, we are encouraged to be and do good.
Paul gives Titus a few reasons for doing and being good that still apply to us today.
“. . . be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it” (Titus 1: 6-9).
SO THAT we can encourage others in things of the faith and refute objections and arguments that come against us. No one wants to follow a leader who is a drunkard, violent, and dishonest! We want leaders we can trust, who are honest, blameless, and who “love what is good.” We can get behind such a leader, and we are encouraged in our own faith when our leaders are strong in theirs.
“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women..” (Titus 2 3-4).
SO THAT the older ones in the faith can teach the younger ones what is best. The Bible puts a great deal of emphasis on mature Christians teaching, leading, and being a good example to new converts to the faith. It is a natural responsibility, just like teaching your little ones to eat with a spoon or to ride a bike. We have the know-how and experience from which they can benefit, and it is our duty to lead them in the good way.
“. . . so that no one will malign the word of God” (2:5).
“In everything, set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2: 7-8).
‘Malign’ means “to speak harmful untruths about something with an evil injurious effect” (Dictionary.com). We give those watching us something to talk about when we act in disrespectful, dishonest, or quick-tempered ways. We cast a bad light on the beauty and love of our Heavenly Father and leave room for nay-sayers to harm our witness for God. This is destructive to others’ faith and trust in our Lord. We do good to give them nothing to say against Him or us.
“. . . so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.” (Titus 2:10)
We can make the Christian life seem joyous and blessed, confident and strong, faith-filled and trusting, or we can make it seem to be drudgery, weighed down by rules and regulations, and impossible by the way we walk out our faith in front of others. The Christian walk is not easy. It is not a bed of roses and free from trouble. But we have the Holy Spirit to lift us and guide us. We have promise after promise of God’s abiding love and grace to lead and forgive. We have the atoning sacrifice of Christ our Lord to cleanse and renew us. We have much to be joyous about, and the world needs to see it. They are watching!
“These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” (Titus 3:8)
An acronym for the word TEAM is “together everyone achieves more.” When we do good for others, everyone is blessed. When we refrain from gossip or act with integrity in our business dealings, everyone benefits. The whole body is affected when one part is sick. The same is true with the universal church. We suffer when other believers suffer, and we celebrate together with each other’s victories. And we “provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives” (3:14). The whole body of the church is strengthened, beautified, and promoted when we do good.
We can be “eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14), we can be “ready to do what is good” (Titus 3:1), and we can “devote ourselves to doing what is good” (Titus 3:8, 14) because we have a “blessed hope”!
“. . . while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:13-14).
We have great hope for a great future with our Lord. He paid for it with His own life, and it makes us “eager to do what is good” for His sake and His glory!