HOW GRACE APPEARS
Lord, cover me with Your grace and mercy like a blanket.
Read TITUS 3:1–15
Saved in Order to Do Good
3 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.
12 As soon as I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decided to winter there. 13 Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need. 14 Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.
15 Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith.
Grace be with you all.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect in prayer on the day ahead, especially your encounters with other people and particularly those who are not Christians. Ask that Jesus will be seen in you.
Moving to issues of Christian living in the public square, in verses 1 and 2 Paul begins by urging the Cretan believers through Titus to behave as model citizens, even under Roman rule. How does the demeanor required of believers in verse 2 compare with the general tone of public oratory in society today? Can you recall, or imagine, a public debate in which a Christian contribution carried the tone described here?
Throughout the pastoral epistles, lifestyle and its underlying theology are interwoven. Such is also true of this chapter, the theology arriving in verses 4–7. This is one long sentence in the original Greek, perhaps quoted from an early creed, and here we find a rich exposition of the central phrase “he saved us” (5). Note from these verses: (1) who saved us, (2) what our salvation rests on, (3) the means by which salvation comes to us and (4) the hope salvation creates in us. We find in verse 3 a description of what we were saved from and in verse 8 a reminder of what should be the evidence of our salvation, seen by those around us. This brings us back to where the chapter began: the behavior of Christians in society. The instructions in verses 9–11 concerning “foolish controversies” and “divisive” people reissue the question posed when looking at 2 Timothy 2:23–26: when is a cause of disagreement among Christians sufficient to warrant a withdrawal of fellowship? However we may answer this, it is clear from this chapter that self-righteousness has no place in Christian ethics or debate. In verse 15 the letter ends as it began, as do our Christian lives: with “grace.”
In what situations and by what behavior is God calling you to model “grace” in your dealings with those with whom you disagree, both inside and outside the church?
Lord, help me to maintain good works, even though I am still saved by grace.