Christians who love the word are a grace alone people. We affirm that we are saved by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. We do not believe that our good works in any way contribute to our being saved. We do not believe that religious ceremonies or religious artifacts contribute to our salvation. Our standing before God as redeemed is entirely of God’s grace through faith.
We are saved through faith alone. But, saving faith does not remain alone. As James pointed out so clearly, faith without works is dead. Saving faith will be accompanied by a changed life, a life of good works. And we see a very similar reminder in the letter of Paul to Titus.
Titus 2:11-14 – 11 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.
A student of Paul will know that he is very clear about the fact that we are saved through faith apart from works. Yet, as we see here, the salvation of our souls has an aim and a result that includes our change. In verse 11, we see that we have grace. In verse 12, we see that the grace of God trains us to renounce evil passions and to live different, new, godly lives. In verse 13, we await the return of Christ with anticipation. And then, in verse 14, we again see gospel followed by life change.
Look at the purposes of Jesus in verse 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.” He gave himself to redeem us. That is salvation by grace alone through faith alone. He gave himself to redeem us and purify for himself a people zealous for good works. That is the result of a new, righteous, lawful, God-honoring body of believers. Christ did not save us to make us rebels against the good. Christ did not save us so that we will throw off the word and ways of God. Christ saved us apart from any works on our behalf. But Christ changes us so that we will long to put away evil and become a pure people for the Lord’s glory.
So, Christian, do not think that God is unconcerned with your purity or obedience. Yes, salvation is by grace alone through faith alone. But your faith must not remain alone. A goal of God’s in your salvation is that you become a person who honors him through your obedience and a new purity that stands out as different in a darkened world.