Justified by Grace (Titus 3:1-8)

Justified by Grace (Titus 3:1-8)


WCF 9.3 Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation…

Accepting this “bondage of the will” is prerequisite for understanding Effectual Calling (WCF 10) and Justification (WCF 11).

The Cretans had a reputation for being morally corrupt (1:11). Paul has instructed Titus to establish elders to teach sound doctrine that accords with sound living. In the previous passage we learned that Jesus Christ, not Caesar, is God and Savior.

Paul taught that we need to be saved and trained by grace! Grace radically transforms those who understand it and receive it. Reflection upon the doctrine of God motivates good works.

We may nod our heads in agreement with Paul, yet have very different ideas in mind when it comes to how we live it out. Some practical instruction is needed.

Read Titus 3:1-8

The Fruit of Salvation (1-3)

Paul has already taught these things.

  1. Relationship With Government: Submissive (Rom. 13; 1 Pet. 2), obedient, and ready for every good work. Attitude/mindset.
  2. Relationship With Everyone: Not slandering, inclined towards peace (winsome not contentious), gentle, and meek. Perfectly showing humility.

They were to be reminded because Paul and Titus were just as depraved as they were (Eph. 2:1-3).

C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew The Lion sings Narnia into existence, but Uncle Andrew suppresses the truth:

When the Lion had first begun singing…he had realized that the noise was a song. And he had disliked the song very much…Then, when the sun rose and he saw that the singer was a lion (“only a lion”, as he said to himself) he tried his hardest to make believe that it wasn’t singing and never had been singing…And the longer and more beautifully the Lion sang, the harder Uncle Andrew tried to make himself believe that he could hear nothing but roaring. Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.

This is everyone who remains as they once were…

  • Foolish & Disobedient: Stupid. Specifically to authority.
  • Misled & Enslaved: Deceived, caught up in our cultural context. Compromised by various lusts/pleasures.
  • Malice & Envy: Daily attitude/posture.
  • Hated & Hating One Another:

We only overcome through repentance, which involves a true sense of sin as well as the apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ.

As in ch.2, Paul follows the imperative with the indicative.

The Root of Salvation (4-7)

This amounts to one long sentence in the Greek. “He saved us” is the main verb of the sentence. God saves us out of v.3 by his goodness, loving kindness, and mercy revealed most clearly in the appearing of Jesus Christ.

Salvation is not of works we have done. vv.1-2 didn’t bring salvation, but they were the response to the work of God the Father (8), Son (6), and Holy Spirit (5).

Salvation involves:

  1. A bath of new birth. Born again washing. Baptism is the sign and seal of this spiritual cleansing. God’s work of regeneration precedes our act of faith.
  2. Renewal of the Holy Spirit. Made new. The Holy Spirit begins the work of transformation that follows regeneration. Paul is reflecting on Pentecost (Acts 2:17), which was the fulfillment of Joel 2:28.

Consideration of new covenant salvation – where the pouring out of God’s wrath (Ezekiel 36:18) underwent a dramatic reversal being replaced by the pouring outof God’s Spirit (Ezekiel 36:25-27) – leads Paul to the articulation of the doctrine of justification by grace.

James Buchanan Justification is a legal, or forensic, term, and is used in Scripture to denote the acceptance of anyone as righteous in the sight of God.

When this truth takes root there will be fruit which provides…

The Proof of Salvation (8)

“These things” probably refers to entire letter. Paul wants Titus to insist on everything he said. He wants him to confirm with confidence the calling believers have to concentrate (dwell upon) a devotion to good works.

Those who believe and continue to believe (perfect tense). The good works we perform after justification are not done apart from faith/trust.

If the Holy Spirit has been richly poured out upon us, then we have been enabled to do them.

I can remember arguing with an RE in 2006 regarding the doctrine of justification and sanctification. I was convinced that sanctification was a monergistic work just like justification. I was wrong! My extreme view was theologically inaccurate, related to Antinomianism. Seminary repeatedly humbled me in doctrine and practice.

Rightly understood, James 2:14-26, is not in conflict with Paul at all.

“Works” found in each section of the passage.

  1. Remind them to be ready for every good work.
  2. God saved us not from works of our own.
  3. Believers are to be carefully devoted to good works.

What’s the connection? How can we summarize this entire passage?

Good works do not declare us righteous, but those declared righteous must do good works.

Many people want the root of justification without the fruit of sanctification, therefore they lack the proof of their salvation.



  1. The Fruit of Salvation (1-3)
  2. The Root of Salvation (4-7)
  3. The Proof of Salvation (8)

Stott Six essential ingredients of salvation:

  1. Its need is our sin, guilt and slavery.
    1. Its source is God’s gracious loving-kindness.
    2. Its ground is not our merit but God’s mercy in the cross.
    3. Its means is the regenerating and renewing work of the Holy Spirit, signified in baptism.
    4. Its goal is our final inheritance of eternal life.
    5. Its evidence is our diligent practice of good works.

It is the work of a Triune God with past, present, and future aspects.