Thursday 23 July 2015

Bible Book:

] saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy” (v. 5)

Titus 3:4-7 Thursday 23 July 2015

Psalm: Psalm 48


Paul repeats his doctrine that we might call 'prevenient grace',that which comes to us as a gift before we are even aware of ourneed of it; that God loves us first and not through any worth orworks that we can do. There is no 'earning a place' for us asadopted children of God.

We can find this very difficult to wear at times because our ownpersonal history is one of satisfying other people's expectationsof us - our parents, or teachers, lovers, friends, our employers.Guilt is often our response to failing to live up to someone'sexpectations. We always feel a need to convince someone else of ourworth. To believe that we are loved for who we are and for who weare becoming is sometimes too difficult to believe. But that is thegift Paul speaks of, even if it is in very strident terms.

Paul does make it clear, though, that having acknowledged thisgift we are no longer ignorant or unaware of God's hope ofperfection in us as children of God. The human response to thisgift we note in the preceding verses (Titus3:1-3) are the ideals of moral self-restraint, mutual, lovingrespectful family relationships, fidelity and trust betweenemployee and employer, relationships of civil humility, and respectbetween servant and master and with those in authority.

Behind all of this is Paul's concept of civil governance beingordained by God for our benefit. He was a Roman citizen and proudof it as a means of transmitting the gospel. I guess he also feltthat time was short and the 'kingdom of heaven' was an imminent butnot necessarily close event. So there was a waiting time in whichhe expected people to show restraint and an unimpeachable moralbehaviour.

To Ponder

  • How much do you still believe that we have to earn God's loveor favour; that being a Christian means hard work and effort toprove something to others, to ourselves even, because we can be ourown worst critic? In the light of this passage what might God besaying to you?
  • To what extent do you feel the joy and humility of beingwelcomed within a community of faith as a child of God withoutstrings attached, with nothing to prove? Try to put into words yourthoughts and feelings.
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