“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. 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.”
Please speak to me Lord, I am ready to listen.
Subject to rulers and authorities. Obedient. Ready to do whatever is good. Slandering no one. Peaceable and considerate. Gentle toward everyone. These 3 verses start out with this list. As Paul is writing Titus he tells Titus to remind the people of these things. These qualities must be important for why else would Paul be telling Titus to remind the people of these things. I would say that I try and do all of these things. It is a natural response to Jesus living inside of me and the way that my parents have raised me. Though, the reality of it is I live more in verse 3. Foolish. Disobedient. Deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. Malicious and envious. And filled with hate. It sounds gross and detestable but it is the nature of my appetitive flesh. We are born into sin. As a baby you cry because you want things. Some of the first words learned are “no” and “mine.” You only think of yourself and your own needs. We don’t have to be taught to lie, how to steal, how to cheat. These things come coded in our sin nature. But as we grow in the grace of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, he rewrites that code that is on our hearts. He fills it with wisdom instead of foolishness. Obedience instead of disobedience. Truth instead of deception. Love and contentment instead of envy. Freedom instead of enslavement to our flesh. What gets me is not these first 3 verses in chapter 3, that is just life. What gets me is the next 4 verses. Verses 4-7 say, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 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, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having hope of eternal life.” I love it. Yes, I am filthy, But Jesus. I am all those terrible things, But Jesus. I am justified by his grace. I am justified by his righteousness not my own, Romans 8:3-4. I also love how Paul calls God our Savior, speaks of the rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, and then with the same breath calls Jesus our Savior. They are one. God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one. Paul ends verse 7, that through all three “we might become heirs having hope of eternal life.” And this hope isn’t the same hope that I would have in the rain so I can sleep more peaceably tonight. No this hope describes something you know is going to happen and you can hold on to it knowing it to be true.
Application: Verses 1-3 are great reminders to live as Jesus did, but the reality of this life is my appetitive nature takes over and succumbs to sin. So, what is the remedy? Verses 4-7 make it clear, Jesus. God our Savior, the Holy Spirit, Jesus our Savior, His grace. I have eternal life. I am an heir of Christ. Praise you Jesus
How: I read Psalm 76 as well today. It talks about the fear of God. What drives that fear? This healthy fear of the Lord that Asaph talks about in Psalm 76 should only be a natural response to the salvation we have through Christ that Paul speaks of in Titus 3:4-7. Today I wrote “Fear God” on my hand so every time I look at it I will be reminded of the countless reasons I do indeed fear the Lord. Because of him, I am an heir and I have eternal life. Praise you Jesus.
Thank you Lord that though my flesh and heart fail, you are the strength of my heart and my portion forever.