O man! figure Jesus Christ to yourself, and contemplate how God in him has shown thee his mercy, without any merit on thy part going before. Draw from this image of his grace the faith and assurance that all thy sins are forgiven thee. Works cannot produce it. It flows from the blood, and wounds, and death of Christ; thence it wells forth into our hearts. – Martin Luther
Martin Luther’s words echo the Apostle Paul’s words in Titus 3:5: “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”
It is true that salvation is dependent, not on our works, but solely on the work that Jesus did on the cross. Faith alone placed on that work brings us to salvation. To get this wrong produces a Christianity that is pharisaic and life-sapping; to understand this rightly, on the other hand, is life-giving and will produce an abundance of good works.
That’s what Paul goes on to say just three verses later in Titus 3:8: “The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.”
And so, good works, though without merit to earn our salvation, are the natural outworking and the assuring evidence that Christ’s work has been applied effectually to our hearts.
Are you trusting in Christ’s work alone, and has that focused trust ushered out unto good works that bring glory to your Savior?
Written by Ron Elwardt - Website
Ron Elwardt moved to Phoenix from Wisconsin (Go Packers! Go Badgers!) with his wife Ruth and daughters Megan and Becca in 1989. Recently celebrating his 25th year of ministry at Camelback Bible Church, Pastor Ron currently serves as Pastor of Families and Children. “That I may know Him [Christ] and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death.” – Philippians 3:10