“… so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.”Titus 2:10b
My wife is always decorating our house, making it a lovely home. If it were left to me, there would be walls without paintings, sofas without throw pillows, a porch without flowers. She embellishes it, makes it lovely. It would still be our home without these things, but it wouldn’t be lovely. Luther says that’s the place of good works in the Christian life. Good works do not save us—faith does that. Good works are the embellishment. They make faith lovely.
As Paul writes to his young friend Titus, a pastor he mentored, he says that Titus must not only teach sound doctrine, but also “what is appropriate to sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). He gives instructions to people in all walks of life. But these instructions for doing good are in the context of what Christ has already done, finally and completely.
Once the grace of God finds us and delivers us from our guilt and shame, it also trains us to renounce ungodliness and to live in such a way that the “teaching about God our Savior” is made lovely (Titus 2:11-14).
“The true Gospel declares that good works are the embellishment of faith.”
(Martin Luther, 1535)