(Titus 2:13–14) looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Those who believe you must work to earn your salvation - or somehow to deserve salvation - say, "If you don't need good works to be saved, then people could be saved and live for the devil." To be fair to them, it is a fact that some people DO teach that sort of "cheap grace."
But what does the Bible say?
Salvation is by God's grace and not earned by good works.
(Ephesians 2:8–9) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
(Titus 3:5) not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
But that is not the end of the story. Salvation is not just about our final destination in heaven or hell. Salvation is about the work of God that delivers us from spiritual death to spiritual life.
(2 Corinthians 5:17) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
(Colossians 1:13) He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
(Romans 6:4) Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
(Galatians 2:20) I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I 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 for me.
Those who are saved are not saved BY their good works, but by God's grace through the finished work of Jesus Christ received by faith. But those who are saved are fundamentally changed. They are converted. They are delivered. They are given a new heart and a new relationship with God. They are now God's new creation - created by God for God's good purposes.
(Ephesians 2:10) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
The three short chapters of Titus use the word "good" eleven times in reference to how the followers of God should live. Six of those are in the term "good works."
Titus 1:16 - The false teachers are "disqualified for every good work."
Titus 2:7 - God's minister should be "a pattern of good works."
Titus 2:14 - God wants His people to be "zealous for good works."
Titus 3:1 - "Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work"
Titus 3:8 - "Those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works."
Titus 3:14 - "And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful."
Salvation is by grace, through faith and not of ourselves. It is God's gift. It is not by our works. But where that grace has worked in a person's heart there will be a change. There will be fruit. There will be a new zeal for doing the good things that please our Holy God and Savior - Jesus Christ.
God deliver us from works religion and from cheap grace!