Titus 3 (English Standard Version)
Be Ready for Every Good Work
Let us not for a moment think we are better than anyone else! Only because God has graciously worked in our lives are we any different today! Remembering this work of God builds four things in us.
- First, gratitude for how God changed us.
- Second, humility as we see that it was His work that changed us.
- Third, kindness to others in the same place.
- Finally, faith that God can change those who are still in that place.
from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw
BEFORE AND AFTER
God not only wants to forgive us; he wants to regenerate us, make us new creatures. Forgiveness is the first step. It removes the things that alienate us from each other. God forgives our offenses against him and forgets them. then when we turn to God, we are not afraid or loaded with guilt. But he wants to do more. He wants to transform us to fit us for a future very different from our past.
Forgiveness and regeneration are like two sides of the same coin. They cannot be separated., Salvation is more than a change of record. It is a change of us. It deals with our sin, the bent within our nature that causes us to commit our sins. It affects who we are as well as what we do. Paul makes this clear as he writes to his understudy Titus. Notice his language: “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of pleasures” (Titus 3:3). Christians have a past of which they cannot boast, but it does not determine their future. Paul is clear: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us” (Titus 3:4-5). The change is a washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. We now have a new life as well as a new relationship to God. And that new life is God’s life within us.
My present, therefore, is different from my past. It is as different as the sources from which the before and after come. The before had its source in a”me” empty of him. The after has its source in the very life of God that now lives within me. Small wonder that there is a difference.
It is no small thing to try to understand this idea: that God loves us, and saves us, by the suffering of Christ on the cross, so that our sins can be forgiven and we can live kindly, gracious lives, according to the compassion and mercy that God has already shown us. “Thank you” seems somehow not a strong enough response.
“Worthy Is the Lamb” from Darlene Zschech and Hillsong.
“It is much easier to discuss theological questions than to be kind and considerate and helpful at home, or efficient and diligent and honest at work.”
Final Instructions and Greetings
12When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. 14And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful. 15All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith.
Grace be with you all.