Monday, July 28, 2014

Be ready - Titus 3:1-7

"Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:1-8)
How does one "be ready for every good work"? By living a well ordered life! Paul calls us first to live as good citizens, subjected to the ruling authority, living in self-control and moderation, and exemplifying a well ordered life to those around us. Someone who lives a life of rebellion, desire, disorder, and disobedience is someone who is not always available for "every good work" should opportunity presents itself. However, someone who lives their lives with restraint, orderliness, temperance, and within the limits of proper society, their lives are always at the ready to do good, both to God and man.

Additionally, we will never show "good works" to people we disdain. As a Christian, it is easy to form an "us against them" mentality where we view ourselves as separate from the world and, at times, view the world as our enemy. When that happens, the world become something to avoid or defeat; neither view being conducive towards good works. Even though we have been born again and made new creatures in Christ, we must never forget our common bond with the human race. When comparing ourselves against even the vilest of sinners, we must always remember that we were once such as they and they too, should they not persist in their rejection of the gospel, shall become one such as us. There is no qualitative difference between them and us; we are all human.

So how does one reflect on the sinfulness of the human race? Paul wrote, "for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:22-23) Sin is the very thing that unites us as being human; it is the one thing that is common to the entire human race. However, sin is also the very thing that qualifies us for God's grace. "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all." (1 Timothy 1:15) Sin not only unites us as being one but also qualifies us for the redemption that is in Christ. To see a sinner is to see someone like us; to see someone worthy of the grace, forgiveness, and love of the Father. Jesus did not come to save us alone, rather He came to, "save the world" (John 12:47) He came to all mankind, to as many as are affected by sin and in need of redemption, that He might reconcile us all to God our Father.

As believers, what separates us from the rest of the world is not who we are or what we've done but rather what we've received, and that same gift is available to all should they too choose to receive it. If we truly loved the world as God loves the world, then our desire would be for good works that they may show forth the glory of God and His love for mankind; that all might come to receive and know what we too have received and heard; that they might all be made new in the Father. It is as Jesus said, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

David Robison

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