New Focus Magazine 2023, January:
In Titus chapter 3 the Apostle Paul reminds his young friend to ‘affirm constantly’ the doctrine of justification by God’s grace. The free gift of God’s righteousness imputed to sinners is to be faithfully declared and frequently repeated. It is the message we as needy sinners should demand from our preachers, and which we who are preachers should be determined to declare. Being ‘justified by his grace’ is at the very heart of the gospel message. If we are ‘justified by his grace’ there can be no element of our own works involved.
Gospel preaching is sovereign grace preaching. If a preacher does not preach free, sovereign grace he is not preaching the gospel. Furthermore, if he does not affirm constantly this message he is failing in his purpose and duty to his hearers. Some churches have church statements of faith indisputably ‘reformed’ and are happy to boast their ‘sovereign grace’ credentials. Yet, justification by grace is rarely, if ever, heard from their pulpits. That will not do! Paul is saying that he, as an apostle of authority, will have the doctrine of grace affirmed constantly.
We are saved, Paul tells us, by the mercy of God, cleansed by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ through the washing of regeneration, and renewed in our heart and soul by the power of God the Holy Ghost. Observe how the apostle traces all our salvation back to the sovereign goodness of the Triune God. The soul of a believer must be made alive by God the Holy Spirit, our salvation depends upon it. Spiritual regeneration and renewal is the only ground we have for our hope of eternal life.
Paul would have Titus affirm constantly the gospel of sovereign grace because it is this message that inspires and motivates a believer’s good works. Good works are the fruits and effects of spiritual renewal by the Holy Spirit. ‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them’ (Ephesians 2:10). A believer’s obedience does not flow from legal obligation but a grateful heart.
The more we know of sovereign grace,
The more we serve, and love, and praise.
A believer’s inspiration, motivation and enthusiasm for the glory of God comes from enlarged views of the goodness, kindness and mercy of God in Jesus Christ. If we would do good to the souls of men and women, boys and girls, let us affirm constantly the sweet doctrine of justification by grace, and perfect justifying righteousness by the blood and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Peter Meney is the Pastor of New Focus Church Online and the Editor of "New Focus Magazine" and publisher of sovereign grace material under the Go Publications imprint. The purpose and aim of the magazine and books is to spread as widely as possible the gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of free, sovereign grace found in the Holy Bible, the Word of God.