This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. (Titus 3:8)
“This” refers to the traits of our old life that have been replaced by our new Master, Jesus Christ…the one who justified us by grace and made us heirs with Him.
Incidentally, if I may take one side trip: We are “justified” by grace because Jesus has settled our sentence of death with the gift of His own life on Calvary. The One who knew no sin became sin and died in our place.
And so, we want to do what is good. Our motivation is our gratitude for the mercy of Jesus. This stands in stark contrast to the Cretans who judged those who were not adhering to Old Testament rules and regulations. There is nothing good about doing good deeds to attain a righteousness of our own. But rightly framed, our good is excellent and profitable for everyone.
How are the excellent things we do profitable for everyone?
Certainly, when we do something good to help someone, it profits them. If we help a motorist fix a flat tire, they are able to get to work on time. If we take a meal to the home of a neighbor who is sick, we aid them in their recovery.
But how do good deeds profit everyone? Is this just a collective way of saying everyone we help profits. Well, sort of…but not exactly.
I believe Paul is talking about the corporate witness of the church. When the church allows people to act selfishly, and judge others where Jesus would not judge them, a spirit of discontent settles over the body, and the Lord’s body becomes an inhospitable place.
However, when everyone chooses to live by the mercy of the cross, and no one looks out merely for his own interests, a new “vibe” is heard, and the gospel message is made attractive.
When the church reflects the message of Jesus in an attractive way, everyone wins. Those outside of Jesus see Him reflected in his people, and those who are already in Him enjoy being a part of a healthy body that fulfills its purpose.
You see, when the old master messes with the Lord’s people, everyone feels his destructive presence. But when the new Master is allowed to rule, there is joy.
This is why Paul wants Titus to “stress these things.” It is better to stress the right things than to let the wrong things stress us out.
Dear God, help me focus on things that are profitable for everyone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.