On Sunday evening we gather to worship the Lord and learn His Word, and near the end of the service we have room for some questions if those in attendance have any. Last Sunday I finished teaching through Titus, and I drew attention to Paul’s seven-fold use of the word works in the letter. Good works in the life of the Christian are absolutely necessary.
All was good until we entered into time for questions and the first question I received was, “What are good works?” That was, and is, a very good question. It is a question I did not prepare for because I did not think of it, and so I mumbled and bumbled through a half answer. And I would stand by my half answer as being accurate as far as it goes. However, I was troubled by not being able to give a better answer to this question, “What are good works?”
So, here it goes.
Good works must comport with the righteousness of God to be good. Now, to go farther down the rabbit hole we have to ask, what is the righteousness of God? The righteousness of God is His ability to perform all that He has promised to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and so on. Essentially (this is a little simplistic, but bear with me) the promises of God can be brought down to two points (1) to remove sin from the world and (2) to restore Edenic creation order. God’s righteousness in the world is doing just that right now. Through the Lordship of Christ as the exalted King of heaven and earth, God is removing sin from the world by converting rebel sinners to citizens of heaven and He is restoring the created order by encapsulating redeemed humanity into the Bride of Christ, the church.
So, what are good works? Read this first, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” 2 Corinthians 5:21. In Christ, we are the righteousness of God and since we are the righteousness of God, then it follows that through us, the church, God is fulfilling points 1 and 2 above. Good works in the life of the Christian are those works that we perform, based on the salvation we have in Christ, that remove sin from the world and pursue the restoration of a good creation.
Sweet. How about some concrete help here. Okay, here you go (1) put to death your sins and (2) obey God’s Law. This is good work.