‘THAT BEING JUSTIFIED BY HIS GRACE, WE SHOULD BE MADE HEIRS ACCORDING TO THE HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE. 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 3:7-8
I shall not at this time discourse of every particular at large included in these words; but shall briefly fall upon those things that I judge most necessary for the people of God. Neither shall I need to make any great preamble to the words for their explication; they themselves being plain, and without that ambiguity that calleth for such a thing; the general scope being this, THAT THEY WHICH HAVE BELIEVED IN GOD SHOULD BE CAREFUL TO MAINTAIN GOOD WORKS.
But yet, to prosecute what I intend, with what clearness I may, I shall in a word or two make way for what is to be the main of this book.
‘This is a faithful saying.’ This; Which? Why, that which goeth before, namely, ‘That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly.’
Why, ‘That they which have believed in God, might be careful to maintain good works.’ The meaning is, that the way to provoke others to good works, is constantly — in the evidence and demonstration of the spirit — to show them the certainty of their [these believers] being by grace made heirs of eternal life.
From this scripture, therefore, I do gather these things observable.
FIRST, That good works do flow from faith. Yea,
SECOND, That every one that believeth should be careful that their works be good.
THIRD, That every believer should not only be careful that their works be good, and for the present do them, but should also be careful to maintain them; that is, they should carefully study to keep in a constant course of good works.
FOURTH, and lastly, That the best way to provoke both ourselves and others to this work, it is to be often affirming to others the doctrine of justification by grace, and to believe it ourselves: ‘This is a faithful saying, and these things I will,’ saith Paul, ‘that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.’