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Zealous for Good Works




Zealous for Good Works

Jessalyn Hutto

My desire in writing this series  has been to provide us with a fresh perspective on Titus 2–a section of scripture which is frequently quoted among women, but rarely for the purpose of savoring the beautiful gospel message it contains. It is my hope that the next time you and I come to the commands of verses 3-5 we will not be overwhelmed by the standard of godliness they present.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed and defeated, I pray that we will view these fruits of the spirit through the lens of the gospel, knowing that we have been forgiven for all past, present, and future offenses, that we have been freed from the power of sin in our lives for the purpose of living in a godly manner, that it is God himself who trains us in the ways of righteousness, and that we can look forward to the return of our King and Savior who will wash every hint of remaining sin from our lives leaving us holy and pure for all of eternity.

This is good news isn’t it?

Is it any wonder that Paul concludes this section of scripture proclaiming that Christ is making us a people who are zealous for good works? Let’s read this passage once more, keeping in mind all that we have meditated on thus far and paying special attention to the last little phrase:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14, ESV)

This is where we must see a clear connection to the commands of verses 3-5 (where we find the famous description of a godly woman) and the gospel we have so ardently studied over the past few weeks. Jesus has done all of this–forgiving, freeing, training, and purifying–for the purpose of creating a people who have a passion for holy living. 

It is a mistake to try to apply the call to “love your husband” or “love your children” or to be “self-controlled, “pure” or “kind” without first understanding how this is even possible! These are not qualities you can produce in your own power. You cannot will yourself to be more “submissive to your husband”–not without the enabling work of the Holy Spirit! This would be tantamount to attempting to deep sea dive without knowing you need scuba gear!

The gospel message isn’t just for those who have yet to receive Christ. It is for us. It is for women like you and me who come to the Proverbs 31 Woman or the Titus 2 Woman and think, “How could I ever hope to resemble such a virtuous woman when I struggle so deeply with sin?” We must remind ourselves every day that Christ came in order to redeem a peoplepurify a people, and make them zealous for good works. And let me remind you dear sister: if you have repented and believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ, you are a part of that people. He is transforming your very nature, creating in you a greater disdain for sin and a greater desire for holiness with each passing day.

This message is not particularly unique to Titus 2, for this is the message of all of Scripture. And yet, we tend to isolate the commands of the Bible from their gospel basis. We want to grab onto the verses that tell us what to do, without first reminding ourselves what Christ has done. Let us not come to Titus 2 ever again without first reveling in the salvation and sanctification purchased by the precious blood of Christ on our behalf. Let us remember all that he is doing in our hearts through his incredible grace and then be zealous for the good works he has laid out before us–not with a spirit of fear or guilt or shame, but with a spirit of joy and hope!

Let us seek to:

love our husbands and children,

be self-controlled,


working at home,


and submissive to our own husbands,

knowing that it is Christ who works in us for our good and his glory.