CHICKENS, EGGS, GRACE, & GOOD WORKS
Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
Titus 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Titus 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. (bold added)
I’m not sure if anyone has ever figured out which came first, the chicken or the egg, but when it comes to God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, grace and good works, the answer is abundantly clear. Good works cannot earn us God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace, and the promise of forever in heaven rather than eternity in hell, but repenting of our sins, believing that Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and receiving God’s forgiveness and everlasting life should be followed by ongoing good works. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden and sin and the curse of separation from God and death and hell entered into this world such that every human being is born into this curse, we lost our ability to be in relationship with God because we are all sinners and He is perfectly holy.
There is nothing, literally no amount of good works, that can enable us to be in God’s presence, enjoy His fellowship, and spend forever with Him. So much for good works, right? Absolutely wrong. Titus 3:3-8 is a beautiful and powerful summary of God’s salvation in a nutshell: Verse 3 describes some of our sins that separate us from God. Verse 4 depicts God’s love and mercy that we need. Verse 5 makes it clear we receive righteousness, or right standing with God, because of God and not our works. Verse 6 shows how God pours out His mercy on us. Verse 7 explains how we receive the hope of heaven because of His grace.
And verse 8 reveals how once saved by God’s grace through our faith in Christ, we must learn to walk according to the ways of the Lord and allow our new lives in Christ to bear the fruit of doing good works. Which comes first, good works or God’s grace? Grace comes first. Good works should follow for a lifetime as we walk step by step through our lives toward eternity.