Scripture Read: Titus 3:5-8 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.
Application: I am astounded that the old argument of total grace versus works still continues – but it does. Just as in the garden, when the enemy first twisted God’s Word, he continues to do that today. Today he continues to try and get people to go one direction or the other in an unhealthy way. The scripture is filled with passages like this - notice what it says – “those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds” (Titus 3:8).
I don't think there's any confusion here. If you believe in God - the evidence of that is going to be good deeds. That doesn't change at all the relationship between total grace and works. It is always where you place these two. How you get saved = total grace - nothing you do, nothing you are will save you. It's all God’s work through Christ. But works is still involved in the doctrine of salvation. It’s always been, it’s a matter of where you put Grace versus Works. Grace is the road in front of salvation. You must get on that road to be saved. Your works will not do it. After you begin at relationship with Christ the road that follows is Grace & Works. You might ask, so if I don't have works then I am not saved? I'm not saying that, the scripture does not say that. Here is what I can tell you the scriptures state in many places – the entire book of James makes this point - if you don't have works that show your life has changed toward God then if you are wise you should question if you have a relationship with Him. Now 1 Cor. 3 makes it clear there will be people that are in heaven whose lives did not look like they belong to Christ, but I fear many who think because they once said a prayer, yet have continued to live away from God will find themselves in Matt 7 saying: Lord, Lord didn't we – and the Lord states depart from Me I never knew you. So if you're living a life that clearly shows that you've been changed because of Jesus - you have the assurance that you belong to him. If you prayed a prayer and there was a change for a while but now you live your own way and God is someone you visit once in a while, if you are wise you have to question whether you belong to Him. It doesn't mean you don't, but it is clear according to God’s Word that living every day with the Holy Spirit of God inside you will continue to change you until the day you go home to the Lord.
* Meditation Questions: How long can you go without talking to God? How long can you go without reading His Word? How long can you go without fellowshipping with the people of God? When was the last time you talked with someone about the impact Christ has made on your life? What do your answers show you? What should you do about it?