Wednesday, February 9, 2011

We're in the Maintenance Business

“This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” (Titus 3:8)

Don’t let anyone tell you works are not important in the Christian life. Just make sure they don’t try to tell you they have anything to do with making you a Christian. Anyone who pushes that line, says the Apostle, is looking for something to brag about (Eph.2:9). Works have nothing whatsoever to do with our own salvation, but they have a lot to do with influencing others in that direction. The verse says they make you “profitable unto men.” If you get more from your good works than others do (recognition, reward, gratification, etc.), you’re holding the wrong end of the stick. It’s possible, you know, to do the work of God, but not the will of God.

Assuming, though, that we’ve got our doctrine and our motives squared away, what should be our modus operandi when it comes to good works? Twice in this little book where good works are mentioned five times, the word “maintain” is the action verb used to tell us how to go about it. Something that is maintained is performed habitually, not spasmodically. It’s the default mode, if you please. Does this mean you never do anything bad? No, it just means that when you do, it’s a glitch, not a pattern. Big difference. As a matter of fact, Paul says earlier, in chapter two and verse seven, that good works should be our pattern. I’m aware that the Holy Spirit Who lives within us is the great Enabler in righteous living, but He’s much freer to do His work where good spiritual maintenance has been taking place. A car has to have fuel in order to run, but it runs better when it’s tuned up!

Good maintenance takes care. That’s why Paul says to be “careful to maintain good works.” Last minute efforts and so-called “repentance” that amounts to little more than damage control are marks of carelessness. If it were easy, Paul wouldn’t have said that we needed to be reminded of it constantly (“I will that thou affirm constantly”).

It’s good to get right; but it’s better to stay right. And that takes good maintenance. So you and I, fellow believer, are all in the maintenance business. Hmm…how’s business?

No comments:

Post a Comment