HIMSELF FOR US: hos edôken (3SAAI) heauton huper hêmôn: (Mt
20:28; Jn 6:51; 10:15; Gal 1:4; 2:20; 3:13; Eph 5:2,23, 24, 25, 26,
27;1Ti 1:15;2:6; Heb 9:14; 1Pe 3:18; Rev 1:5, 5:9)
Paul now reverts back
from the prophetic future (looking for the blessed hope - the future
Second Coming of Christ) to the historical work of Christ which laid the
foundation for His present work of sanctification in believers.
Expositor's Greek Testament
This is an appeal from the
constraining love of Christ to the responding love of man.
Who gave Himself -
Speaking of His vicarious suffering and death. The act of giving Himself
indicates Christ’s willing, gracious gift of Himself. Christ by His own
choice gave humanity the priceless gift of His perfect, sinless life.
The idea of "gave" is that this was a gift and as such could not
be earned or merited or deserved!
"Who gave himself for us" summarizes
that work as voluntary, exhaustive, and substitutionary. His giving of
himself was the grandest of all gifts.
F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament.
In First Timothy we read...
(Christ Jesus) Who gave Himself
as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time. (1
For us - Paul includes himself here and thus is speaking of
believers, including Titus to whom he is writing.
(huper) is a
preposition which serves in some contexts (as in this verse) as a marker
indicating that an activity or event is in some entity’s interest or in
behalf of or for the sake of someone else. As BDAG puts it huper
is a marker indicating that an activity or event is in some entity’s
interest (for, in behalf of, for the sake of someone/something).
Thus in this verse
huper depicts the substitutionary atonement...
Christ “for the sake of" ______ (fill in your name).
Christ "in behalf
of"_________ (fill in your name).
Christ "instead of”_________ (fill in your name).
Compare other uses of
huper in the sense of "in our place" or "for our sake"...
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for
(huper) the ungodly.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for (huper) us.
For Christ also died for sins once for (huper) all, the just for
the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to
death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit
See a foreshadowing of this
reality of Christ's substitutionary
(Christ's death in our place on the Cross - see 1Jn 2:2 for the
synonymous term "Propitiation") in the great epistle of Hebrews where we read
as allusion to the Old
Testament description the
Day of Atonement
(cp Lv 16:2, 12, 13) noting that...
into the second (the Holy of holies)
only the high priest enters, once a year, not without taking blood,
which he offers for (huper) himself and for the sins of the people committed in
ignorance. (He 9:7-note)
Comment: In this passage
describing the Levitical high priest's once/year entrance into the holy
of holies for the sake of the people of Israel, we see a
beautiful foreshadowing of our Great High Priest entering once for all
time through the "rent veil" into the real Holy of holies (compare Mt
27:51, Mk 15:38, Lk 23:45 with He 10:19, 20-note),
the very presence of God into His throne room in heaven.
For Christ did not enter a holy place
made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself,
now to appear in the presence of God for (huper) us (He
This hope we have as an anchor of the
soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the
veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for (huper)
us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of
Melchizedek. (He 6:19, 20-note)
Hence, also, He (Christ) is able to
save forever those who draw near to God through Him (the Great High
Priest), since He always lives to make intercession for (huper)
them. (He 7:25-note)
Philip Bliss' great hymn
teaches this priceless doctrine of substitutionary
Hallelujah! What a
Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
—Philip P. Bliss (play
Paul’s doctrine of substitution is reiterated in the famous
passage where Paul declares...
I have been crucified with Christ;
and it is no longer l who live, but Christ lives in me and [the life]
which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who
loved me and gave Himself up for (huper) me. (Gal 2:20-note)
Huper is used in John 11:49-50,
Caiaphas, the high priest, speaking prophetically declared...
You know nothing at all, nor do you
take into account that it is expedient for you that one man should die
for (huper = in the place of) the people, and that the
whole nation should not perish.
In Galatians Paul used huper with a
similar meaning writing...
Christ redeemed us from the curse of
the Law, having become a curse for (huper = "instead of") us--
for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE" (Ga
THAT HE MIGHT REDEEM US
FROM EVERY LAWLESS DEED: hina lutrosetai (3SAMS) hemas pases anomias:
(Ge 48:16; Ps 130:8; Ezek 36:25; Mt 1:21; Ro 11:26, 27 Lk 24:21; 1Pet
(hina) expresses purpose and here clearly explains the
purpose for which sinners have been redeemed as saints.
from lútron = ransom in turn from
lúo = loose) (Click
word study on lutroo) in simplest terms means to release someone
held captive (prisoner, slave) on receipt of a ransom payment (the
"ransom" being the technical term for money paid to buy back a prisoner
of war) with the implied analogy of freeing a slave set free (liberate,
The Roman Empire had by some estimates as many
6 million slaves and the buying and selling of slaves was a major
business. If a person wanted to free a loved one or friend who was a
slave, they would buy (pay the redemption price = lutroo)
the slave for themselves and then grant the slave his or her freedom,
testifying to the slave's new state of liberation or deliverance with a
Enslavement to sin is
bondage, whereas enslavement to God is freedom (see discussion of
eleutheroo = to set free from
domination). True freedom means
having the ability to yield your will to His good and perfect will and thereby become all He
created you to be, set free from sin and free to live an abundant,
"victorious" life pleasing to
God empowered by His Spirit.
Lutroo is in
middle voice which indicates that the person who carries out the action
(of redemption) has a special
interest in what the overall transaction. This is certainly the case in the redemption
accomplished by Christ as Paul explains in the remainder of this verse.
The three uses of
lutroo are all translated “redeem” and tell the story of
In Lk 24:21 lutroo means to set Israel free from the yoke
of Roman rule and oppression...
But we were hoping that it was He
who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is
the third day since these things happened.
In Titus 2:14 we are set men free
from the yoke of self-will (specifically "every lawless deed"),
who gave Himself for us, that He
might redeem (lutroo) us from every lawless deed and purify for
Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
In 1Pe 1:18
(note) we are set
free from a vain manner of life, i.e., from bondage to tradition.
knowing that you were not redeemed
(lutroo) with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way
of life inherited from your forefathers,
That word “redemption” sounds in my
ears like a silver bell. We are ransomed, purchased back from slavery,
and this at an immeasurable price; not merely by the obedience of
Christ, nor the suffering of Christ, nor even the death of Christ, but
by Christ’s giving Himself for us. All that there is in the great God
and Savior was paid down that he might “redeem us from all iniquity.”
The splendor of the Gospel lies in the redeeming sacrifice of the Son of
God, and we shall never fail to put this to the front in our preaching.
It is the gem of all the Gospel gems. As the moon is among the stars, so
is this great doctrine among all the lesser lights which God hath
kindled to make glad the night of fallen man. Paul never hesitates; he
has a divine Savior and a divine redemption, and he preaches these with
unwavering confidence. Oh that all preachers were like him!
(575) (apo) indicates effective removal from that sphere and our
deliverance from "all" aspects of the domination of
and our fallen
from a = neg. + nomos = etymologically
something parceled out, allotted, what one has in use and possession;
hence, usage, custom, rule, law) describes violation/transgression of
law, wickedness; iniquity.
Anomia is used 15
times in the NT - Matt. 7:23; 13:41; 23:28; 24:12; Rom. 4:7; 6:19; 2 Co.
6:14; 2 Thess. 2:3, 7; Tit. 2:14; Heb. 1:9; 10:17; 1 Jn. 3:4
Lawlessness is the essence of sin and represents self-assertion as
opposed to the self-sacrifice of unconditional love.
Hiebert writes that...
lawlessness (is) that
assertion of self-will in defiance of God's standard that is the essence
of sin. The expression ("redeem us from every lawless deed") stresses
not our guilt as rebels but rather our deliverance from bondage to
lawlessness through Christ's ransom. (Ibid)
Expositor's Greek Testament
To what degree soever we allow the
love of Christ to operate as a controlling principle in our lives, to
that degree we are delivered from anomia (lawlessness) as an opposing
Lawlessness is living as
though your own ideas are superior to God's.
Lawlessness says, "God
may demand it but I don't prefer it."
Lawlessness says, "God
may promise it but I don't want it."
God's law with my contrary desires. I become a law to myself.
Lawlessness is rebellion
against the right of God to make laws and govern His creatures.
John gives a direct definition of
Everyone who practices (present tense)
sin also practices (present tense)
lawlessness; and sin is (present tense)
So as John teaches, lawlessness equates with sin. Salvation delivers the
redeemed permanently from enslavement to the power of Sin. The
unregenerate person is in total bondage to the ruling power of Sin, the
principle of which indwells them.
Notice also that believer were not
set free from some of the lawless deeds but from all. Thus there is
nothing incomplete about Christ's redemption. When He paid the
redemption price, He paid it in full and declared
It is finished! (John
Paul (though his emissary Titus) is
exhorting the believers in Crete now to live like men who have been
redeemed and set free to obey a new Master.
F B Meyer comments that in
we are, therefore, taught that the
death of Jesus was intended, not for our forgiveness and justification
merely, but for our sanctification, and our deliverance from the power
of all our besetting sins.
><> ><> ><>
REDEMPTION ILLUSTRATED -
A missionary in
West Africa was trying to convey the meaning of the word redeem in
the Bambara language. So he asked his African assistant to express
it in his native tongue.
"We say," the assistant replied, "that
God took our heads out."
"But how does that explain
redemption?" the perplexed missionary asked.
The man told him that many years ago some of his ancestors had
been captured by slave-traders, chained together, and driven to
the seacoast. Each of the prisoners had a heavy iron collar around
his neck. As the slaves passed through a village, a chief might
notice a friend of his among the captives and offer to pay the
slave-traders in gold, ivory, silver, or brass. The prisoner would
be redeemed by the payment. His head then would be taken out of
his iron collar. What an unusual and graphic illustration of the
word redeem! Let Him take your head out of the enslaving collar of
sin and set you free. Christ was lifted up on the cross that we
might be lifted out of our sin.
Redeemed-how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy-
His child, and forever I am.
Redeemed How I Love to Proclaim It! by
AND PURIFY FOR
HIMSELF: kai katharise (3SAAS) heauto: (Mal 3:3; Mt 3:12; Ac
15:9; He 9:14;Jas 4:8; 1Pe 1:22; 1Jn 3:2, 3:3) (Ezek 37:23)
Purify for Himself
- In his elaboration on the New Covenant, the prophet Ezekiel
records God's promise to the believing remnant of Israel that...
they will no longer defile themselves
with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their
transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places
in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My
people, and I will be their God. (Ezekiel 37:23)
Hiebert explains that...
This negative work (redeem us from
every lawless deed) is the necessary prelude to the positive work of
sanctification, "to purify for himself a people that are his very own."
Purify points to the moral defilement that man's rebellion
produced. Sin makes us not only guilty but also unclean before a holy
God. The blood-wrought cleansing (1Jn 1:7) enables men to be restored
to fellowship with God as "a people that are his very own." Since they
have been redeemed by his blood (see 1Pe 1:18, 19, 20-notes),
Christ yearns that they voluntarily yield themselves wholly to him. Such
a surrender is man's only reasonable response to divine mercy (Ro 12:1-note;
from katharos = pure, cleansed, without stain or spot; English words
- catharsis = emotional or physical purging, cathartic = substance used
to induce a purging, Cathar = member of a medieval sect which sought the
purging of evil from its members) means to cause something to become
clean from contamination or impurity or
to make clean by taking away an
undesirable part. To cleanse from filth or impurity. Katharizo means to
cause to become clean as from physical stains and dirt (Mt 23:25).
This word group
conveys the idea of physical, religious, and moral cleanness or purity
in such senses as clean, free from stains or shame, and free from
In secular Greek
katharizo occurs in inscriptions
for ceremonial cleansing.
here) for more background
on the important Biblical concept of clean and cleansing.
Katharizo is used 31 times in the NT - Mt 8:2, 3; 10:8; 11:5;
23:25, 26; Mk. 1:40, 42, 42; 7:19; Lk. 4:27; 5:12, 13; 7:22; 11:39;
17:14, 17; Acts 10:15; 11:9; 15:9; 2Co 7:1; Eph. 5:26; Tit. 2:14; Heb.
9:14, 22, 23; 10:2; Jas. 4:8; 1Jn. 1:7, 9
referred to cleansing from ritual contamination or impurity as in (Acts
10:15). In a similar sense katharizo is used of cleansing lepers from
ceremonial uncleanness (Mt 8:2, 3, et al)
use in 1John 1:9 (cf James 4:8, He 10:2) describes the purifying or
cleansing from sin and a guilty conscience thus making one acceptable to
God and reestablishing fellowship.
In the present context the cleansing is not just an external cleansing
like that of the hypocritical Pharisees who cleansed (katharizo)
the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside" they remained "full
of robbery and self-indulgence. (Mt 23:25)
The quality of purification that Jesus produces is prefigured by His
miraculous healing of the leprous man, Matthew recording that Jesus
stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be
(katharos)." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed (katharizo).
Only God can cleanse a
leper and only the God Man, Jesus can purify sinners on the "inside" of
"robbery and self-indulgence".
Paul's use of the
aorist tense for
conveys the truth that Jesus' purification of sinners was a once for
all, effective, completed action, which equates with "past tense"
salvation or the justification which occurs once for all time
when a sinner receives the free gift of salvation by grace through
Paul speaking of Jesus and His church writes that He has
cleansed (katharizo) her (His bride the Church) by the washing of water with the
word (see note
The Greek Septuagint uses
katharizo when it
translates David's prayer --
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity.
(Lxx = katharizo) me from my sin. (Ps 51:2).
John uses katharizo twice in first chapter of his first
epistle, teaching that
if we walk in the light as He Himself
is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of
Jesus His Son cleanses (katharizo) us from all sin." and that "If we confess our sins, He is
faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse (katharizo) us from all unrighteousness. (1Jn
In both of these uses in First John,
the purification that is wrought in believers by Jesus refers to
"present tense" salvation or sanctification which is a process that
began with our our initial purification (justification) and which will
continue until our "future tense" salvation or glorification is
Until that glorious occasion Paul writes
promises, beloved, let us cleanse (katharizo)
ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness
in the fear of God. (2Corinthians
7:1 - notes)
In so doing we will indeed be a "peculiar people", each
a vessel for honor, sanctified,
useful to the Master, prepared for every good work (deed). (see note
2 Timothy 2:21)
A PEOPLE FOR HIS OWN
POSSESSION: laon periousion:
(Ex 15:16; 19:5,6; Dt 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; Ps 35:4; 1Peter 2:9)
This verse is most literally rendered
"a peculiar people". Below are other translations
people to be peculiarly His own -
His own special possession - Analyzed Literal Translation
so that we can be His special people GWT
unto himself a peculiar people - KJV
a people who are truly His - NET
a people that are his very own - NIV
His own special people - NKJV
a people of his own - Phillips paraphrase
a people as his own treasure - Rotherham
people who belong to Him alone - TEV
a people who should be specially His own - Weymouth
a people of His own private possession, - Wuest
Spurgeon comments that...
The translation “peculiar people”
is unfortunate, because “peculiar” has come to mean odd, strange,
singular. The passage really means that believers are Christ’s own
people, His choice and select portion. Saints are Christ’s crown jewels,
His box of diamonds; His very, very, very own. He carries His people as
lambs in His bosom; He engraves their names on His heart. They are the
inheritance to which He is the heir, and He values them more than all
the universe beside. He would lose everything else sooner than lose one
of them. He desires that you, who are being disciplined by his grace,
should know that you are altogether His. You are Christ’s men. You are
each one to feel, “I do not belong to the world; I do not belong to
myself; I belong only to Christ. I am set aside by Him for Himself only,
and His I will be.” The silver and the gold are His, and the cattle
upon a thousand hills are His; but He makes small account of them, “the
Lord’s portion is His people.” (From Spurgeon's sermon
Two Appearings & the Discipline of Grace)
I like what Bryan Chapell
writes about this passage...
The work of salvation is His, and we
are His. These statements are our great protection against legalism
and our great propulsion toward godliness. Because Christ’s work
alone purchases our salvation through the redeeming price of His blood,
and Christ’s work alone purifies us through the cleansing that blood
supplies, we do not look to our works as the basis of acceptance. Doing
what God requires does not make us His own, but having been made His own
by no work of ours, we now love to love Him who first loved us (cf. 1John 4:19).
"LOVE HIM WITH
ALL HIS HEART"
My daughter sometimes says to her
“Mommy, I love you with all your
I realize why a three-year-old says
such things. She tries to show her love by mistakenly echoing her
mother’s frequent endearment,
“Katie, I love you with all my
But it is no mistake that here in
Titus, God teaches us to love Him with all His heart. He pours
before us the signs of the love, so that we will love and respond to Him
at as high and close a level of affection as the human heart can
What does being a loved people do to us? It makes us more
sensitive to sin. I want you to note clearly the apostle’s order. God’s
people are first ransomed by His work, then purified to be His own, then
they are “eager” (zealous) to do good (Titus: 2:14).
In some ways this message turns
upside down our more common approach to how the Christian life operates.
We tend to think that we cannot see the love of God until we see our
sin, but Paul here makes it clear that it is seeing the love of God that
enables us to see our sin.
Apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ makes us so long to love
Him and reject what hurts Him that we become intolerant of the sin in
our lives. I understand this as I look at my own marriage. The
longer I am married, the more I marvel at my wife’s love for me despite
my early coldness and continuing selfishness. But the more I see how
much she loves me the more conscious I become of my insensitivities and
the more eager I am to please her. The more I perceive her love, the
more I cannot stand my sin against her. In the same way, when we see how
wondrous is the love of Christ, then we become more and more sensitive
to the sin in our lives and we long more and more to do what pleases
THE POWER OF
This dynamic of having the love of
God create an intolerance for sin is what the Puritans called the power
of new affections. What will ultimately make us holy is not willpower,
not guilt, not an inspiring message, but apprehension of the mercy of
God in Christ that actually causes love for God to drive out and replace
love for sin. The Puritans taught this truth with the image of the live
oak, a variety of tree whose leaves—though dead—stuck to its branches
through the winter. What eventually forced the leaves from the tree was
not the abuse of the cold or the beating of the wind, but the new life
springing up within the tree and replacing that which was dead. So when
we are God’s people, there yet cling to us affections for evil that we
must confess, but these are truly shed only as the love of Christ builds
within us and ultimately drives out the old affections with the new life
that is love for Him. (“Intolerant”
Grace: Titus 2:11-15 - Revival and Reformation 7:3 Summer 1998)
Journal Subscription info) (List
of 22 journals - 500 yrs of articles searchable by topic or verse!
Incredible Online Resource!) (Bolding added) (Greek tenses
and coloring added for amplification)
from perí = beyond + eimi = to be, exist) means of one's
own possession, one's own and here qualifies people.
Periousios describes the
property one owned as a rich and distinctive possession, a possession
which is of very special status.
Titus 2:14 is the only NT use of
periousios where Paul figuratively describes God's redeemed people
as Christ's costly possession and His distinctive treasure. Believers
are those that belong in a special sense to Christ. What an incredible word
picture of blood bought, heaven bound sinners who are now the Savior's saints!
Periousios is used four times
in the Septuagint for Israel, the chosen people, the peculiar people of
Jehovah (see references in Vincent's note below).
Marvin Vincent has a
lengthy note on periousion writing that it is used...
A few times in LXX
(Septuagint), always with laos (Greek = people). For
Exodus 19:5 "Now then, if you will
indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own
possession [periousion] among all the peoples, for all the earth is
"For you are a holy people to the
LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His
own possession [periousion] out of all the peoples who are on the
face of the earth." (NAS)
"For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath
chosen thee to be a peculiar [periousion] people unto himself,
above all the nations that are upon the earth. (King James Version)
"And the LORD has today declared you to be His people, a treasured
possession [periousion, as He promised you, and that you should keep
all His commandments (note privilege always conveys responsibility!)" (NAS)
The phrase was originally applied to
the people of Israel, but is transferred here to believers in the
Messiah — Jews and Gentiles. Comp. 1Pe 2:10 (Click
for discussion of "for you once were NOT A
PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD").
Periousios is from
a participle meaning to be over and above: hence periousía = abundance, plenty.
Periousios also means possessed over and above, that is, specially
selected for one’s own; exempt from ordinary laws of distribution. Hence
correctly represented by peculiar, derived from peculium,
a private purse, a special acquisition of a member of a family distinct
from the property administered for the good of the whole family.
Accordingly the sense is given in Ep 1:14, (see
note) where believers are said to
have been sealed with a view to redemption of possession ("with a view
to the redemption of God's own possession"), or redemption which will
give possession, thus = acquisition. So 1Pe 2:9 (Click
) where Christians are styled a
people for acquisition, to be acquired by God as His peculiar
possession.". (Vincent, M. R. Word Studies in the New Testament: Vol. 4,
Page 346) (Bolding added)
Kenneth Wuest adds that...
Christians are the private
possession of God.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
This has always been God's desire
from the beginning that His chosen people be a Holy People, His very own
peculiar and special possession. Paul is saying that we as believers are no longer our own but are
now Christ's special, treasured possession. Paul
could not be much clearer.
Jesus warned of the practical
implications of not heeding this truth (Mt 6:24 -note). If you are loving the world
then you cannot be loving Jesus, the Master Who bought you. (Jas 4:4, 1Jn 2:15,
As noted above, the 1611 KJV quaintly
describes saints as “a peculiar people.” Unfortunately, too often
we are a "peculiar people", but not in the way God intended! He didn’t
die to make us odd or strange people, but a people who belong to Him in
a special way, not to the world nor to ourselves.
Just as we formerly were possessed
and enslaved by sin, now we are to be possessed by and enslaved to Jesus
Barnes observes that
means, properly, having
abundance; and then one’s own, what is special, or peculiar (Robinson,
Lexicon), and here means that they were to be regarded as belonging to
the Lord Jesus. It does not mean, as the word would seem to imply - and
as is undoubtedly true - that they are to be a unique people in the
sense that they are to be unlike others, or to have views and principles
unique to themselves; but that they belong to the Saviour in
contradistinction from belonging to themselves - “peculiar” or
his own in the sense that a man’s property is his own, and does not
belong to others. This passage, therefore, should not be used to prove
that Christians should be unlike others in their manner of living, but
that they belong to Christ as his redeemed people. From that it may
indeed be inferred that they should be unlike others, but that is not
the direct teaching of the passage. (Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible)
Adam Clarke writes that
signifies such a peculiar
property as a man has in what he has purchased with his own money. Jesus
gave His life for the world, and thus has purchased men unto Himself;
and, having purchased the slaves from their thraldom (enslavement), He
is represented as stripping them of their sordid vestments, cleansing
and purifying them unto Himself that they may become His own servants,
and bringing them out of their dishonorable and oppressive servitude, in
which they had no proper motive to diligence and could have no affection
for the despot under whose authority they were employed. Thus redeemed,
they now become His willing servants, and are zealous of good works -
affectionately attached to that noble employment which is assigned to
them by that Master Whom it is an inexpressible honor to serve. (Adam
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible)
GOOD DEEDS: zeloten kalon ergon: (Titus 2:7-note;
Acts 9:36; Eph 2:10-note;
1Ti 2:10; 6:18; Heb 10:24-note;
God Himself is described as
zealous ("jealous") (see more examples under discussion of
Joshua 24:19 Then Joshua said
to the people, "You will not be able to serve the LORD, for He is a holy
God. He is a jealous (zealous; Lxx = zeloo = burns with zeal)
God; He will not forgive your transgression or your sins.
Phinehas was zealous
for the Lord's honor and integrity (for context read
Numbers 25:11 "Phinehas the
son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned away My wrath
from the sons of Israel, in that he was jealous (zealous) with My
jealousy (zeal) among them, so that I did not destroy the sons of
Israel in My jealousy. 12 "Therefore say, 'Behold, I give him My
covenant of peace;
(Notice the legacy that accrued from
the zealous good deed of Phinehas!) Psalm 106:30 Then Phinehas
stood up and interposed; and so the plague was stayed. 31 And it was
reckoned to him for righteousness, To all generations forever.
Note who was blessed to be in the
lineage of Phinehas
Ezra 7:1 Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king
of Persia, there went up Ezra son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son
2 son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub,
3 son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth,
4 son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki,
5 son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron
the chief priest. (see discussion of
Amy Carmichael poetically
pictured zealous for good deeds in her famous poem...
Give me the love that leads the
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like
Let me not sink to be a clod;
Make me thy fuel, Flame of God.
The Christian martyr Jim Elliot
expressed a similar zealousness for good deeds when he asked..
Am I ignitable? God deliver me from
the dread asbestos of 'other things'. Saturate me with the oil of the
Spirit that I may be a flame.
Hiebert writes that...
For those who have been redeemed from
the doom of sin and death and brought into a unique relationship with
God, the true voluntary response is to be enthusiastic "to do what is
good." It is the true badge of His divine ownership. He who eagerly
awaits the return of the Savior will be eager also to further His cause
by good works until He comes. It is another instance of the union
between creed and conduct insisted upon in the pastoral
Zealous - Totally committed.
Sold out. Abandoned. Dedicated. "Possessed". "On fire". Burning. Ablaze,
Afire. Impassioned. Fanatical. Ardent. Fervent. Fervently devoted.
Passionate. Passionate ardor in pursuit of something. Single heart.
Single minded allegiance. Enthusiastically devoted. Eager desire to
accomplish some goal or end.
Dear reader, would our Father
label you as one who is on fire for good (God) deeds?
Samuel Chadwick was right when
he said that...
Men ablaze are invincible. Hell
trembles when men kindle.
Would to God that all Christian
men and women were disciplined by divine grace till they became zealous
for good works! In holiness zeal is sobriety. We are not only to approve
of good works, and speak for good works, but we are to be red-hot for
them. We are to be on fire for everything that is right and true. We may
not be content to be quiet and inoffensive, but we are to be zealous of
Oh that my Lord’s grace would set
us on fire in this way!
There is plenty of fuel in the church, what is wanted is fire.
A great many very respectable people
are, in their sleepy way, doing as little as they can for any good
cause. This will never do. We must wake up. Oh the quantity of ambulance
work that Christ’s soldiers have to do! One half of Christ’s army has to
carry the other half. Oh that our brethren could get off the sick-list!
Oh that all of us were ardent, fervent, vigorous, zealous! Come, Holy
Spirit, and quieten us!
We may not go about to get this by
our own efforts and energies, but God will work it by His grace. Grace
given us in Christ is the fountain head of all holy impulse.
O heavenly grace, come like a
flood at this time
and bear us right away!
Oh that those of you who have never
felt the grace of God may be enabled to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ
as to His first appearing! Then, trusting in His death upon the cross,
you will learn to look for His second coming upon the throne, and you
will rejoice therein. Unto His great name be glory for ever and ever!
Amen. (From Spurgeon's sermon
Two Appearings & the Discipline of Grace)
from zeo = to boil, be hot or glow)
describes one zealous (fervent and enthusiastically devoted) for or
eagerly desirous of something. A zelotes is one who is earnestly
committed to a side or cause and thus could be described as an
enthusiast, an adherent, or a loyalist.
Zelotes - 8 times in the
NT - Lk. 6:15; Acts 1:13; 21:20; 22:3; 1 Co. 14:12; Gal. 1:14; Tit.
2:14; 1 Pet. 3:13
Some have accused their brethren of being too zealous, and there may be
some truth in their accusations but as Brother Andrew said
It's easier to cool down a fanatic than warm up a corpse.
Secular Greek writers used zelotes to describe an emulator,
admirer, imitator or follower of anyone.
Zelotes in other New Testament (not
counting the two uses as a proper noun "Zealot") is used to describe those who
are "zealous for the Law" (Acts 21:20), "zealous for God" (a Jew with
great concern for the Mosaic law) (Acts 22:3), "zealous of spiritual
gifts" (1Co 14:12), "zealous for... ancestral traditions" (Ga 1:14) and "zealous for
what is good" (1Pe 3:13-note) From these uses you can observe that one can be zealous
in a negative or in a positive sense. As Thomas Brooks explains "Zeal is
like fire; in the chimney it is one of the best servants, but out of the
chimney it is one of the worst masters." John Calvin adds that "Zeal
without doctrine is like a sword in the hand of a lunatic."
Zelotes was used
twice as a proper noun. One of Jesus' apostles was "Simon who was called the
(Luke 6:13), which described a fanatically patriotic Jewish group
in Palestine who wanted to be independent of Rome. The Zealots were the
fanatical patriots, who were pledged to liberate their native land by
every possible means, and after the example of Phinehas (who was called
"jealous" = "zealous" in Nu 25:11, 12, 13)
were even prepared to take their lives in their hands, to sacrifice ease
and comfort, home and loved ones, in their passionate love for their
country. From the time of the
Maccabees (105-63 B. C.) the Zealots rigorously adhered to the
Mosaic law and even resorted to violence after the example of Phinehas (Nu
25:11, 12, 13)
in order to prevent their Jewish from being violated.
Neither God nor humans are cold,
unfeeling beings. Persons have emotions as well as intellect and will,
and often these emotions are strong. To be zealous describes one
of the stronger emotions.
Zelotes describes one who is one stirred to action by a strong
emotion. Zeal thus describes an intense emotion which compels one to action. One who
is zealous manifests an energetic, unflagging pursuit of an aim or
devotion to a cause, in this case "good deeds". We are
eagerly desirous to perform good deeds, veritable "zealots (albeit
Spirit-controlled) for good works."
Am I Spirit controlled "zealot" for Jesus?
Or are the embers of my heart just barely
glowing? Am I abandoned to God, consecrated to God, passionate for God,
wholeheartedly for God, etc?
Not all Christians have great mental powers, or are extrovert
personalities, but all should be zealous. - Timothy G. Alford
It is better to wear out than to rust
out. - Richard Cumberland
Paul had a good antidote for "low glow embers" speaking
directly to Timothy but applicable to all believers:
I remind you to kindle afresh (continually
keep fanning it full flame) the (charisma = spiritual)
gift of God which is in you... (see notes
we think of the zeal of men for sports, politics, and business, we
should be provoked to godly jealousy and inspired to good deeds. It's
amazing how zealous some false religious zealots can be in regard to a
lie, while true believers languish in a state of apathy even though they
possess the absolute Truth.
As John Wesley once wrote...
Get on fire for God and men will come
and see you burn.
Zelotes is used 6
times in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew word
(7067) and every use
of zelotes is a description of Jehovah! In each of these OT uses,
zelotes translates the Hebrew word for "jealousy" and thus
portrays a very strong emotion, a passionate desire.
are some of these OT uses:
"You shall not worship them or serve
them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous (zelotes)
God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third
and the fourth generations of those who hate Me"
Comment: Jealousy in marriage
is an image used in the OT to describe the relationship between God and
His covenant people (see Isa 54:5, Je 31:32, cp Je 2:2; Hos 2:19 -
all referring to God's "wife" Israel), paralleling the relationship
between husband and wife. Here in giving the Mosaic Law [the "10
Commandments"], Jehovah announced to Israel that they must remain
faithful and committed to Him and not turn to idolatry, often equated in
the OT with marital unfaithfulness. The idea was that God was Israel's
"Husband" and Israel was viewed as His "wife" and therefore His jealousy
was founded upon their "marital relationship". God's "jealousy" thus
communicates the fierce intensity of His commitment to His people, even
when they turn from Him. They may be unfaithful but He remains faithful
for He cannot deny Himself. Thus While the anger of God is an
expression of God's jealous wrath, the acts of judgment recorded in the
OT continue to be for the ultimate benefit of His "wife" Israel who must
be brought back to a right relationship with Him if they are to
Exodus 34:14 -- Jehovah says to Israel
"you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is
Jealous (uses the related adjective zelotos), is a jealous (zelotes)
Deuteronomy 4:24 "For the LORD your
God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Nahum 1:2 A jealous (Hebrew word =
qanno') and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging
and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He
reserves wrath for His enemies.
See what Christ died for, see what
Christ lives for, see what we are to live for,-that we should not only
be a people purified, but purified unto Himself. We are not only to have
good works, but we are to be zealous of them; we are to burn with zeal
for them, for zeal is a kind of fire, it is to burn and blaze in us
until we warm and enlighten others also....As well a chariot without its
steeds, a sun without its beams, a heaven without its joy, as a man of
God without zeal...If by excessive zeal we die before reaching the
average age of man, worn out in the Master's service, then glory to God,
we shall have so much less of earth and so much more of heaven.
William MacDonald who spoke passionately about what defines a
true disciple of Christ put it well when he said...
A disciple can be forgiven if he does not have great mental ability. He
can be forgiven also if he does not display outstanding physical
prowess. But no disciple can be excused if he does not have zeal. If his
heart is not aflame with a red-hot passion for the Saviour, he stands
The disgrace of the church in the twentieth century is that more zeal is
evident among Communists and cultists than among Christians.
The fiery bishop from yesteryear J C Ryle gives a similar
A zealous man in religion is a man of one thing. He only sees one thing,
he cares for one thing, he is swallowed up in one thing; and that one
thing is to please God...A zealous Saviour ought to have zealous
Lord give us men like Count Nicolas von Zinzendorf who lived what
he said when he declared...
I have one passion only: It is he! It is he!
John Piper asks a question that we should all seriously ponder...
If you dropped dead right now, would you take with you a payload of
pleasure in God or would you stand before him with a spiritual cavity
where covetousness used to be? (Piper, John. Future Grace)
As an aside you might also consider (if you dare) reading Dr Piper's
Don't Waste Your Life
Is God stirring your heart to be zealous for Him, zealous for good
deeds? Then beloved, you
dare not miss His timing and His call, for as John Trapp so aptly put
One live coal may set a whole stack on fire. (And you may indeed be that
"coal" in your local body.)
Chapell writes that...
The indulgence of ungodliness and worldly passions ultimately is a
denial of the Word of God and message of the Savior. In contrast, our
zeal is a consequence of wanting our Savior to be known as the One
who has rescued us from evil, from compulsion, from infectious sin, from
the evaluation of a person’s worth by the degree of pleasure that he or
she can bring me. We should be living so that people will know their
worth in Christ as the gospel proclaims—this must change us because the
gospel changes everything!...
...Revival in all the areas the apostle identifies as requiring
Christian transformation will be terribly costly. Who has any zeal
for this and what will ignite it? The answer must be love for Him who
gave Himself for us. Such love the apostle sparks by reminding us of our
Savior’s actions and attitudes in our behalf. (“Intolerant”
Grace: Titus 2:11-15 - Revival and Reformation 7:3 Summer 1998)
Journal Subscription info) (List
of 22 journals - 500 yrs of articles searchable by topic or verse!
Incredible Online Resource!)
means good with emphasis on that which is beautiful, handsome,
excellent, surpassing, precious, commendable, admirable. It means
inherently excellent or intrinsically good and thus providing some
special or superior benefit. In classical usage, kalos was originally
used to describe outward form -- of usefulness it referred to a fair
haven, a fair wind. Auspicious, as sacrifices. Morally beautiful, noble;
hence virtue is called to kalon . The New Testament usage is similar.
Outwardly fair, as the stones of the temple (Lk 21:5); well adapted to
its purpose, as salt (Mk 9:50); competent for an office, as deacons (1Ti
4:6); a steward (1Pe 4:10-note);
a soldier (2Ti 2:3-note);
expedient, wholesome (Mk 9:43, 45, 47); morally good, noble, as works
(Mt 5:16-note); conscience (He
The phrase it is good, i.e., a good or proper thing (Ro 14:21-note).
In the Septuagint kalos is the most commonly used word for good as
opposed to evil (Ge 2:17; 24:50; Isa 5:20).
Kalos - 102 uses in the NT -
Matt. 3:10; 5:16; 7:17, 18, 19; 12:33; 13:8, 23f, 27, 37f, 45, 48;
15:26; 17:4; 18:8f; 26:10, 24; Mk. 4:8, 20; 7:27; 9:5, 42f, 45, 47, 50;
14:6, 21; Lk. 3:9; 6:38, 43; 8:15; 9:33; 14:34; 21:5; Jn. 2:10; 10:11,
14, 32f; Acts 25:10; 27:8; Rom. 7:16, 18, 21; 12:17; 14:21; 1 Co. 5:6;
7:1, 8, 26; 9:15; 2 Co. 8:21; 13:7; Gal. 4:18; 6:9; 1 Thess. 5:21; 1
Tim. 1:8, 18; 2:3; 3:1, 7, 13; 4:4, 6; 5:10, 25; 6:12f, 18f; 2 Tim.
1:14; 2:3; 4:7; Titus 2:7, 14; 3:8, 14; Heb. 5:14; 6:5; 10:24; 13:9, 18;
Jas. 2:7; 3:13; 4:17; 1Pet. 2:12; 4:10
In sum kalos refer to deeds done in the power of His Spirit. No good
deeds can be initiated and accomplished by the old nature (cf abiding in
the Vine Jn 15:5, 1Cor 3:10, 11, 12,13, 14). As John
Morley put it...
It is not enough to do good. One must
do it in the right way.
Good deeds - Beautiful deeds.
Handsome deeds. Inherently excellent and intrinsically good deeds.
R. L. Dabney rightly reminds
The gospel teaches us that while
believers are not rewarded on account of their works, they are rewarded
according to their works.
Someone has said that we should be
like postage stamps. We should stick to one thing until the job is done!
Steadfastness is the key to living a life that pleases our Lord.
As Oswald Chambers said...
Do good until it is an unconscious
habit of life and you do not know you are doing it.
And John Calvin does well
reminding us that...
In our good works nothing is our own.
here for word study of "good deeds") are not
the root of salvation, but they are the fruit of
genuine salvation (cf Mt 3:8, Ep 2:10-notes).
(See Jas 2:14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26- see notes on the relationship between faith and
Jas 2:14 ;
15; 16; 17;
As Vance Havner once
We need an outbreak of holy
heartburn, when hearers shall be doers, when congregations shall go out
from meetings to do things for God.
Redemption means freedom from a life of wickedness and to a life of
obedience and purity. Christ died to provide us this redemption. God is
concerned about the life-styles of His people. He looks for eager
obedience and active doing of good. A full understanding of these things
leads inexorably to godly living. Conversely, ungodly living in a
Christian is a clear sign that either he does not fully understand these
things or he does not actually believe them (i.e., he is not really a
It has always been God’s purpose for His people to live godly and holy as a
testimony to His own righteousness and holiness before the unbelieving
world as in (Dt 26:18,19). Early in His ministry, in the Sermon on the
Mount, Jesus emphasized this same truth (Mt 5:16-note,
Mt 5:48-note) as did Peter
As Spurgeon once put it...
I would not give much for your
religion unless it can be seen. Lamps do not talk, but they do shine.
by C H Spurgeon
in his sermon entitled Good Works delivered on March 16, 1856 at
New Park Street Chapel, Southwark declares...
We shall not be afraid of leading any
of you into a legal spirit this morning through what we shall say, for
after our frequent exhortations to avoid anything like trusting in your
works, attended as they have been, we trust, by the Holy Spirit, we are
not afraid that you will so misunderstand us, as to suppose that when we
speak of good works, to-day, we shall in any way whatsoever wish you to
imagine that they can promote your eternal salvation. We laboured when
here the Sabbath morning before last, to let you know the difference
between the two covenants, the covenant of grace and the covenant of
works; we shall beg you to remember what we then said, and if by any
slips of the tongue we should say anything that should look like
legality, we beg you will put the two together, and wherein we shall err
from the great truth of justification by faith, to reject our testimony.
"Zealous of good works." There are some who hear us preach high
doctrine, and constantly declare that we are saved by grace through
faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, who, therefore,
suppose that we cannot preach good works, and that we could not preach a
good sermon of exhortation to Christians, to live in holiness. Well, we
will not say that we can preach a good sermon, but we will say that we
will try and preach one as to that matter that shall be as good as
theirs, and as much lead the children of God to live in holiness as any
of their exhortations can do, grounded as they are on trusting in the
flesh, and based as they are on threatenings, regulations and promises,
which they hope will induce God's children, but which are well enough
for slaves, though of little avail in operating on the true-born
believer. The children of God are a holy people;-for this very purpose
were they born and brought into the world, that they should be holy; for
this they were redeemed with blood and made a peculiar people. God's end
in election, the end of all his purposes, is not answered until they
become a people "zealous of good works."
WHAT ARE GOOD WORKS?
I. First, then, we are about to
answer the question, WHAT ARE GOOD WORKS?
Now, I dare say we shall
offend many here when we tell them what good works are; for in our
opinion good works are the rarest things in the world, and we believe we
might walk for many a mile before we should see a good work at all. We
use the word good now in its proper sense. There are many works which
are good enough between man and man, but we shall use the word good in a
higher sense to-day as regards God. We think we shall be able to show
you that there are very few good works anywhere, and that there are none
out of the pale of Christ's church.
COMMANDED OF GOD
We think, if we read Scripture
rightly, that no work can be good unless it is commanded of God. How
this cuts off a large portion of what men will do in order to win
salvation! The Pharisee said he tithed mint, anise, and cummin; could he
prove that God commanded him to tithe his mint, his anise, and his
cummin? Perhaps not. He said he fasted so many times a week; could he
prove that God told him to fast? If not, his fasting was no obedience.
If I do a thing that I am not commanded to do, I do not obey in doing
it. Vain, then, are all the pretences of men, that by mortifying their
bodies, by denying their flesh, by doing this, that, or the other, they
shall therefore win the favour of God. No work is good unless God has
commanded it. A man may build a long row of almshouses, but if he build
without reference to the commandment, he has performed no good work.
Again: nothing is a good work unless it is done with a good motive;
and there is no motive which can be said to be good but the glory of
He who performs good works with a view to save himself, does
not do them from a good motive, because his motive is selfish. He who
does them also to gain the esteem of his fellows and for the good of
society, has a laudable motive, so far as man is concerned; but it is,
after all, an inferior motive. (cp 1Cor 4:5) What end had we in view? If for the
benefit of our fellow-creatures, then let our fellow-creatures pay us;
but that has nought to do with God. Work is not good, unless a man does
it with a view to God's glory (cp Isa 61:3b, Mt 5:16-note), and he has been brought into subjection
to God's divine will, so that in everything he has an eye to the Most
High, and works in order to promote His glory and honor in the world.
DONE WITH FAITH
And even, beloved, when our works
are done from the best motives, nothing is a good work unless it is done
with faith; for "without faith it is impossible to please God." Like
Cain, we may build the altar, and lay the first fruits of the salt of
faith, there it will lie-it will not be accepted by God, for without
faith it is impossible to please him (He 11:6-note).
Bring me a man who all his life long
has been spending his health and strength for his fellow-creatures;
fetch me some public officer, who has fully discharged his trust, who
has laboured night and day, even to the wearing down of his
constitution, because he believed that England expected every man to do
his duty, and he wished to do it; bring me that man; let me see all his
charitable works; let me witness the most lavish benevolence, the most
profuse bounty; tell me that he has always, with a consistent motive,
laboured for his country; and then, if he cannot answer this question.
"Dost thou believe in the Son of God?" I shall be bound in all
honesty to tell him that he has not done a solitary good work in all his
life, so far as God is concerned.
BLOOD OF CHRIST IS SPRINKLED
Furthermore, when we have faith in God, and perform all our works
with the best of motives, even then we have not so much as a solitary
good work, until the blood of Christ is sprinkled thereon. Looking
on all that we have ever done in our lives, can we find a solitary thing
which we dare call good until Christ's blood is put upon it? Grant there
is something good about it, for the Spirit wrought it in our souls;
there is much also that is evil about it, for even our best exercises
are so terribly spoiled, marred, and ruined by the sins and
imperfections that are in them, that we dare not call them good, until
Jesus Christ hath sprinkled them with his blood, and taken the stain
away. Oh how often have I thought to myself,
"Now, I have laboured to preach God's
word; I have not spared, at all times, before friends or foes, and I
hope I have not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God!"
And yet, beloved, how many of those sermons have not been good
works at all, because I had not an eye to my Master's honor at the time,
or because there was not faith mixed with them but I preached in a
desponding, low, miserable frame; or, perhaps, I had some natural aim,
even in the winning of souls; for I have often feared, even when we
rejoice to see souls converted, that we may have some evil motive, such
as honoring ourselves, that the world may say, "See how many souls are
brought to God by him!"
And even when the church associates in doing
holy works, have you not noticed that something selfish creeps in-a wish
to exalt our own church, to glorify our own people, and to make
ourselves mighty. I am sure, beloved, if you sit down and pull your good
works to pieces, you will find so many bad stitches in them that they
need to be all unstitched and done over again. There are so many spots
and blurs about them, that you need to have them washed in the blood of
Christ to make them good for anything.
And now, beloved, do you think you have any good works? "Oh!" you
"I am afraid I have not many myself-nay, I know I have not; but
thanks be unto His love, He who accepted my person in Christ, accepts my
works through Christ; and He who blessed me in Him, that I should be a
chosen vessel, has been pleased to accept that which He Himself poured
into the vessel, 'to the praise of the glory of His grace, where He hath
made me accepted in the Beloved.'"
And now, ye moralists, ye who have
trusted in yourselves that ye are righteous, if what I have said be
true, what has become of all your holiness? You are saying
"I am a charitable man."
Grant that you are! I tell you to go
and appeal to your fellow-creatures, and let them pay you for your
charity. You say,
"Ay, but I am a consistent and moral
man. I am a great credit to the country; if all men would act as I do,
what a good thing for this world and generation!"
Of course you have served your
generation. Then send in your bill, and let your generation pay you. I
tell you, you have toiled for nought; you have only sown the wind, and
likely enough you will reap the whirlwind. God owes you nothing; you
have not lived to his honor; you must honestly confess that you have not
performed a single action with a desire to please him; you have laboured
to please yourself-that has been the highest motive you have had; you
felt that if you were good you would go to heaven, and that if you were
evil you would be sure to go to hell. You have been thoroughly selfish,
from first to last. Reckon up your accounts and settle with yourself.
God owes you nothing; you have done nothing for him; and if you have,
then consider within yourself, you have so much violated God's commands,
and so frequently done all you could to injure your Maker, if it were
possible, that all your accounts are easily struck off. And as for your
good works, where are they? Where are they? Ah! it is a figment and a
fiction, a laugh and a dream. Good works in sinners? There are no such
things. Augustine well said,
"Good works, as they are called, in
sinners, are nothing but splendid sins."
This is true of the best works of the
best man, who is out of Christ, they are nothing but splendid
sins-vanished sins. God forgive you, dear friends, for your good works!
You have as great need to be forgiven for your good works as you have
for your bad ones, if you are out of Christ; for I reckon they are both
alike, bad, if they come to be sifted.
WHERE DO GOOD WORKS COME FROM?
II. And now, secondly, WHERE DO GOOD WORKS COME FROM?
It is an old maxim, that nature can never rise above itself. Water,
coming from the top of a hill, will rise as high as its source; but
unless there is some extraordinary pressure put upon it, it will never
So of human nature, Scripture says it
is exceedingly vile; we cannot expect good works out of an evil nature.
Can a bitter well send forth sweet
water? As poison groweth not on healthful trees, with healthful fruit,
so cannot healthy fruit grow on poisonous trees.
We must not look for good works in an
evil nature any more than we should look for the grapes of Sorek on the
vines of Gomorrah.
We cannot expect to find good works
coming from nature; truly it is vain and idle to think that good works
can arise from the natural man. "Where, then," you ask, "do they come
A REAL CONVERSION
We answer, good works come from a
real conversion, brought about by the Spirit of God. Until our
conversion, there is not the shadow of goodness about us. In the eye
of the world we may be reputable and respectable, but in the eye of God
we are nothing of the sort. Could we look into our hearts, as we
sometimes look into other people's faces, we should see very much there
which would drive out of our souls the very imagination of good works
before our heart is changed. How many things there are in the world,
which we have upon our tables and which we even eat, that if we were to
put beneath our microscope we should be afraid to touch, for we should
see all kinds of loathsome creatures creeping and crawling about in
them-such things as we never conceived! and so it is with human nature.
When once the human heart is put
under the microscope of Scripture, and we see it with a spiritual eye,
we see it to be so vile and filthy, that we are quite sure that until we
have a new heart and a right spirit, it would be just as impossible to
expect to find good works in an unrighteous, unconverted man, as to hope
to see fire burning in the midst of the ocean. The two things would be
Our good works, if we have any, spring from a real
conversion; yet more, they spring also from a constant spiritual
influence exercised upon us, from the time of conversion even until the
hour of death.
Ah! Christian, thou wouldst have no good works if
thou hadst no fresh influence day by day. Thou wouldst not find
the grace given thee at the first hour sufficient to produce fruit
to-day. It is not like the planting of a tree in our hearts, which
naturally of itself bringeth forth fruit; but the sap cometh up
from the root of Jesus Christ. We are not trees by ourselves, but
we are branches fixed on the living vine.
Good works, I know whence you
come! Ye come floating down on the stream of grace, and if I did not
have that stream of grace always flowing, I should never find good
works coming from me.
Good works from the creature? Impossible!
Good works are the gifts of God, His choice pearls, which he sends down with
UNION WITH CHRIST
And again: we think that good works spring from union with Christ.
that the more a man knows and feels himself to be one with Jesus, the
more holy will he be. The very fact that Christ and the Christian
become one, makes the Christian Christ-like. Why is a Christian's
character like Christ's character? Only for this reason, that is
joined and united to the Lord Jesus Christ. Why doth that branch
bring forth grapes? Simply because it has been engrafted into the
vine, and therefore it partakes of the nature of the stem. So,
Christian, the only way whereby thou canst bring forth fruit to God is
by being grafted into Christ and united with him. You Christians
who think you can walk in holiness without keeping up perpetual
fellowship with Christ have made a great mistake. If you would be
holy, you must live close to Jesus. Good works spring only thence.
Hence we draw the most powerful reasons against anything like
trusting in works; for as works are only the gift of God, how
utterly impossible does it become for an unrighteous, unconverted,
ungodly man, to produce any such good works in himself. And if they are
God's gifts, how little merit can there be in them.
WHAT IS THE USE OF GOOD WORKS?
III. We have thus tried to trace good works to their origin and
foundation. And now we come to the third
point, which is, WHAT IS THE USE OF GOOD WORKS?
I am rather fond of being called an Antinomian, for this reason, that
the term generally applied to those who hold truth very firmly and
will not let it go. But I should not be fond of being an
Antinomian. We are not against the law of God. We believe it is no
longer binding on us as the covenant of salvation; but we have
nothing to say against the law of God. "The law is holy; we are
carnal, sold under sin." None shall charge us truthfully with
being Antinomians. We do quarrel with Antinomians; but as for some poor
souls, who are so inconsistent as to say the law is not binding, and yet
try to keep it with all their might, we do not quarrel with them!
they will never do much mischief; but we think they might learn to
distinguish between the law as a covenant of life and a direction
after we have obtained life.
Well, we do love good works. Do you ask, of what use are they?
EVIDENCES OF GRACE
first: Good works are useful as evidences of grace. The Antinomian
says,-But I do not require evidences; I can live without them.
This is unreasonable. Do you see yonder clock? That is the
evidence of the time of day. The hour would be precisely the same
if we had not that evidence. Still, we find the clock of great
use. So we say, good works are the best evidence of spiritual life in the soul. Is it not written, "We know that we have passed from death
unto life, because we love the brethren?" Loving the brethren is a
Again, "If any man abide in me, he shall bring forth
fruit." Fruits of righteousness are good works, and they are
evidence that we abide in Christ. If I am living in sin day by
day, what right have I to conclude I am a child of God? A man
comes to this chapel, and while he hears the gospel, he exclaims,
"What delicious truth! what heavenly doctrine!" Yet when he leaves
the place, you may see him enter one public-house for another, and get
intoxicated. Has this man any right to think himself an heir of heaven?
The man who comes to God's house, and drinks "wine on the lees,
well refined," and then goes away and drinks the cup and enjoys
the company of the ungodly, gives no evidence that he is a
partaker of divine grace. He says, "I do not like good works." Of course
he does not.
"I know I shall not be saved by good works." Of this we are
certain, for he has none to be saved by. Many are ready enough to say,
"Nothing in my hands I bring, Simply to the cross I cling;" who believe
they are children of God, because, though they have no good works as
evidence, they think they have faith. Ah, sir! you have faith, and there
is another gentleman quite as respectable as you are, who has faith; I
shall not tell you his name this morning, but he is better than you are,
for it is said, "He believes and trembles," while you sit unmoved by the
most powerful appeals. Yes you who think you are children of God while
you live in sin, you are in the most dreadful error. There is no
delusion, if you except the delusion of the Pharisee, which is more
dreadful than the delusion of a man, who thinks that sin and grace can
reign together. The Christian has sins of heart, over which he groans
and laments, but as regards his outward life, he is kept, so that the
evil one touches him not; the Lord keeps him under the shadow of his
wing; he doth not, except in some falls, allow him to turn out of the
way. Works are the evidence of our faith; by faith our souls are
justified before God; by works our faith is justified before ourselves
and fellow-men. (see related study of
TESTIMONY...OF WHAT WE BELIEVE
Secondly, we think good works are the witnesses or testimony to other
people of the truth of what we believe. Every Christian was sent into
the world to be a preacher; and just like every other creature that God
has made, he will always be preaching about his Lord. Doth not the whole
world preach God? Do not the stars, while they shine, look down from
heaven and say there is a God? Do not the winds chant God's name in
their mighty howling? Do not the waves murmur it upon the shore, or
thunder it in the storms? Do not the floods and the fields, the skies
and the plains, the mountains and the valleys, the streamlets and the
rivers, all speak for God?
Assuredly they do; and a new-born
creature-the man created in Christ-must preach Jesus Christ wherever he
goes. This is the use of good works. He will preach, not with his
mouth always, but with his life.
The use of good works is, that they
are a Christian's sermon. A sermon is not what a man says, but what he
You who practice are preaching; it is
not preaching and practising, but practising is preaching.
The sermon that is preached by the
mouth is soon forgotten, but what we preach by our lives is never
There is nothing like faithful
practice and holy living, if we would preach to the world.
The reason why Christianity does not
advance with a mightier stride, is simply this:-that professors are in a
large measure a disgrace to religion, and many of those who are joined
to the church have no more godliness than those who are out of it.
If I preached such a contradictory
sermon on a Sunday as some of you have preached the most part of your
lives, you would go out and say,
"We will not go again till he can be
a little more consistent with himself."
There is a difference in the very
tone of the voice of some people when they are in the chapel engaged in
prayer, and when they are in the workshop; you would hardly think them
the same persons.
Out upon your inconsistency!
Professors, take heed lest your
inconsistencies should blot your evidence, and some of you should be
found manifesting, not inconsistency, but a most fearful consistency,
because living in sin and iniquity, and therefore being consistent with
yourselves in hypocrisy.
In the third place, good works are of us to a Christian as an adornment.
You will all remember that passage in the Scriptures, which tells us how
a woman should adorn herself.
"Whose adorning let it not be that outward
adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on
of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is
not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit."
1 Peter 3:3;
adornment of good works, the adornment in which we hope to enter heaven,
is the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ; but the adornment of a
Christian here below, is his holiness, his piety, his consistency.
some people had a little more piety, they would not require such a showy
dress; if they had a little more godliness, to set them off, they would
have no need whatever to be always decorating themselves.
ear-rings that a woman can wear, are the ear-rings of hearing the Word
The very best ring that we can have upon our finger is
the ring which the father puts upon the finger of the prodigal son, when
he is brought back; and the very best dress we can ever wear, is a
garment wrought by the Holy Spirit, the garment of a consistent conduct.
But it is marvellous, while many are taking all the trouble they can to
array this poor body, they have very few ornaments for their soul; they
forgot to dress the soul.
Oh! no; they are too late at chapel, all
because of that other pin, which they might have left out. They come
here just when the service is beginning, because, forsooth, they have so
much to put on, they could not be expected to be here in time. And there
are Christian men and Christian women, who forget what God has written
in his word, which is as true now as ever it was, that Christian women
should array themselves with modesty.
It would be a good thing, perhaps,
if we went back to Wesley's rule, to come out from the world in our
apparel, and to dress as plainly and neatly as the Quakers, though alas!
they have sadly gone from their primitive simplicity. I am obliged to
depart a little sometimes, from what we call the high things of the
gospel; for really the children of God cannot now be told by outward
appearance from the children of the devil, and they really ought
to be; there should be some distinction between the one and the other;
and although religion allows distinction of rank and dress, yet
everything in the Bible cries out against our arraying ourselves, and
making ourselves proud, by reason of the goodliness of our apparel.
Some will say, "I wish you would
leave that alone!" Of course you do, because it applies to yourself. But
we let nothing alone which we believe to be in the Scriptures; and while
I would not spare any man's soul, honesty to every man's conscience and
honesty to myself demands, that I should always speak of that which I
see to be an evil breaking out in the Church.
We should always take care that in
everything we keep as near as possible to the written Word. If you want
ornaments here they are. Here are jewels, rings, dresses, and all kinds
of ornament; men and women, ye may dress yourselves up till ye shine
How can you do it? By dressing
yourselves out in benevolence, in love to the saints, in honesty and
integrity, in uprightness, in godliness, in brotherly-kindness, in
charity. These are the ornaments which angels themselves admire, and
which even the word will admire; for men must give admiration to the man
or the woman who is arrayed in the jewels of a holy life and godly
conversation. I beseech you, brethren, "adorn the doctrine of God our
Saviour in all things."
IV. Thus have I told you the use
of good works. Now just a moment or two to tell you that the religion
which we profess in this place, and which we preach, is CALCULATED TO
PRODUCE GOOD WORKS IN THE CHILD OF GOD.
Some say that what is called Calvinism, which is an alias for the true
gospel, is calculated to lead men into sin. Now, we will refute that,
just by reminding them, that the holiest people in the world have been
those who professed the doctrine which we hold. If you ask who in the
dark ages were the great moral lights of the world, the answer will be,
such as Athanasius, Ambrose, Chrysostom; and then coming lower still,
such men as Wycliffe, Jerome of Prague, and Calvin; and every one of
these held the doctrines which we love to proclaim.
And just let me
remind you, there never were better men in the world than the Puritans,
and every one of them held fast the truth we love. I happened to find in
a book the other day a statement which pleased me so much, that I
thought I would read it to you. The writer says,
"The Puritans were the
most resolved Protestants in the nation; zealous Calvinists; warm and
affectionate preachers. They were the most pious and devout people in
the land; men of prayer in secret and in public, as well as in their
families. Their manner of devotion was fervent and solemn, depending on
the assistance of the Divine Spirit. They had a profound reverence for
the holy name of God, and were great enemies not only to profane
swearing, but to foolish talking and jesting. They were strict observers
of the Lord's day, spending the whole of it in public and private
devotion and charity. It was the distinguishing mark of a Puritan, in
these times, to see him going to church twice a day, with his Bible
under his arm; and while others were at plays and interludes, at revels,
or walking in the fields, or at the diversions of bowling, fencing, etc.,
on the eve of the Sabbath, these with their families were employed in
reading the Scriptures, singing psalms, repeating sermons, catechising
their children, and prayer. Nor was this the work only of the Lord's
day, but they had their hours of family devotion in the week days; they
were circumspect, as to all excess in eating and drinking, apparel, and
lawful diversions; being frugal, industrious, exact in their dealings,
and solicitous to give every one his own."
That is a noble testimony to puritanic truth and the power of the gospel. But I have one, which I
think will please you, in another part of the book. A learned Infidel
says of the modern Calvinists and Jansenists, that
"When compared with
their antagonists, they have excelled, in no small degree, in the most
rigid and respectable virtues; that they have been an honor to their own
age, and the best model for imitation to every age succeeding."
think of an infidel speaking like that. I think it was an infidel that
"Go the Arminians to hear about good works; but go to the
Calvinists to see them exhibited."
And even Dr. Priestly, who was a
Unitarian, admits that,
"They who hold the doctrines of grace, have less
apparent conformity to the world, and more of a principle of real
religion, than his own followers: and that they who, from a principle of
religion, ascribe more to God and less to man than others, have the
greatest elevation of piety."
And just now, as the Unitarians are bringing up all their great men-so
great that we never heard their names to this day-and endeavouring to do
all they can in London, to bring people to Unitarianism, we would just
tell them this fact. Dr. Priestly ascribes the coolness of Unitarianism
to their becoming more indifferent to religious doctrine-and accounts
for the fact of their chapels not being well attended, by saying that
Unitarians have a very slight attachment to their religious doctrines.
What a mercy! for if they continued to hold them, they would inevitably
be lost. A man who denies the divinity of Christ is sure to be lost. It
is idle for them to talk of their being Christians; they might as well
talk of being holy angels. The best proof I can give you of the holy
tendency of our doctrines is this great fact, viz.:-That in every age
those who have held the doctrines of grace have exhibited in their lives
a holy walk and conversation.
But once more: in just hastily running over the doctrines, we ask, what
could more tend to make men holy, than the truths we preach? Do we not
teach you, that God has chosen to himself a people who must be holy? Is
that an unholy doctrine?
Do we not tell you that God has chosen to
himself a people who in this world shall show forth his praise, by holy
living? Is that an unholy doctrine?
And we have told you that the Holy
Ghost gives a new heart, and a right spirit, and that there is something
more required than you can do yourselves; that you are unable to perform
such good things as God expects from you, therefore God the Spirit must
renovate you. Do you call that an unholy doctrine? Is the doctrine, that
men by nature are vile and need renewing grace, unholy?
And the doctrine
that the true saints will certainly hold on to the end: is that unholy?
Methinks the contrary to these doctrines are the most unholy in the
world. Is the doctrine that only those who believe have an interest in
the blood of Christ an unholy thing?
Is the doctrine that I preach, that
Christ has redeemed only such as live in holiness, having been brought
thereto by the Holy Ghost, an unholy thing? Methinks not.
all those who love to speak against our doctrines to prove that there is
a single one of them which has an unholy tendency. Charge us with not
holding good works? Come and try to get into our church, and you will
soon have a proof that you are wrong. Why, we would not have you, sir,
if you would give us a thousand pounds, unless we considered you were a
If you have not good works, it will be a long time before we
will receive you; and if you were to steal into our church, you would be
turned out in a week, if you lived in sin and unrighteousness; for it
would soon be reported to the pastor and deacons, and you would see
whether we did not hold the necessity of good works. If you did not
exhibit them every day we would cast you out from amongst us, and have
no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove
them. Our church order is the best refutation of the calumny.
What more can we say, then? We hope we have proved our points to all
honest and consistent men. We only send you away, ye hypocrites, with
this ringing in your ears,
"Except ye have the spirit of Christ, ye are
none of his."
Except ye live like Christ, ye shall not be with Christ at
last; if your spirit be not sanctified in this world, you will not find
that God will sanctify you when you come before his throne.
poor sinners, who have no holiness of your own, and no good works at
all; I know you have not any, because you are not a child of God. Do you
feel that you have not? Come then, and Christ will give you some: He
will give you Himself. If you believe on the Lord Jesus, He will wash
you from all your sins, give you a new heart, and henceforth your life
shall be holy, your conduct shall be consistent, He shall keep you to
the end, and you shall most assuredly be saved. God bless this testimony
to any such as are living in sin, that they may be reclaimed from it;
for Christ's sake! Amen. (Good
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Good deeds are such things that no
man is saved for them nor without them. - Thomas Adams
1. Love what is Good (Titus 1:8
2. Teach what is Good (Titus 2:3
3. Do what is Good (Titus 2:7, 14, 3:8, 14-see notes
Good Watches -Some people are like good watches. They’re pure
gold, open-faced, always on time, dependable, quietly busy, and full of
good works. Source unknown
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Do All The Good You Can - At the church I attend, the Sunday
morning service closes with a song based on John Wesley's words. We
sing, "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the
ways you can, in every place you can, at all the times you can, to
everyone you can, as long as you ever can--do all the good you can."
I've come to appreciate these words as a fitting challenge to live like
Jesus, who "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38).
In Paul's letter to Titus, there are several references to doing good.
We are told that a church leader is to be "a lover of what is good"
(Titus 1:8). Christians are to be "zealous for good works" (Titus 2:14) and "ready
for every good work" (Titus 3:1). Believers must "maintain good works" (Titus 3:8).
People everywhere are hungry for the reality of a personal touch from
God, and we as Christians can do something about that. The wonderful
gift of the love of Christ, which was given to us when we trusted in Him
as our Savior, was never intended to be kept to ourselves. It should
break out in acts of love, kindness, help, and healing wherever we are
and in everything we do.
It's a great theme song for every Christian every day--"Do all the good
you can." —David C. McCasland (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Follow with reverent steps the great
Of Him whose holy work was doing good;
So shall the wide earth seem our Father's temple,
Each loving life a psalm of gratitude. --Whittier
Count that day lost
in which you've not done something good for another.
(Ed: But be sure and do a "motive check" - 1Co 4:5, 2Co 5:9)
Dorcas...was full of good works and charitable deeds. —Acts 9:36
We leave fingerprints on doorknobs,
on books, on walls, on keyboards. Each person’s fingerprints are unique,
so we leave our identity on everything we touch. Some supermarkets are
even testing a technology that allows customers to pay by fingerprint.
Each customer’s unique print and bank account number are kept on file so
that the only thing needed to pay a bill is a scan of their finger.
A woman in the early church left another kind of print—a “heartprint.”
Dorcas touched many people’s lives through her unique gift of sewing and
giving away garments. She’s described as “full of good works and
charitable deeds” (Acts 9:36). We too are to be “zealous for good works”
(Titus 2:14). We each have a unique heartprint that can touch another.
An unknown author wrote this prayer about encouraging others: “O God,
wherever I go today, help me leave heartprints! Heartprints of
compassion, understanding, and love. Heartprints of kindness and genuine
concern. May my heart touch a lonely neighbor or runaway daughter or
anxious mother or even an aged grandfather. Send me out today to leave
heartprints. And if someone should say, ‘I felt your touch,’ may that
one sense Your love touching through me.”
Will you make this your prayer today? —Anne Cetas (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Just what do Christians look like?
What sets their lives apart?
They’re ordinary people
Who love God from the heart. —D. De Haan
People with a heart for God have a heart for people