LINK: Titus 3 (memorize Titus 3:5-6)
The "them" referred to in this chapter are the believers on the island of Crete. The instructions are easy to understand. Believers were to obey the laws of the Roman Empire that did not conflict with their faith so that they might influence the whole community by living out their "sound doctrine" with godly behavior.
He reminded them of their former state when they were foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to lust, and unlovingly relating to others (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Ephesians 4:17-24; Colossians 3:6-7). But God our Savior (the Father who saved us through Jesus Christ our Savior) appeared and saved us not because of our deeds but solely because He is merciful. “We neither did works of righteousness, nor were saved in consequence of them; but His goodness did the whole” [Theophylact] (A
Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments: Volume
2, Tit 3:5, p. 434).
He has washed us clean and given us the Holy Spirit, justifying us by His grace, making us heirs and giving us the ability and motivation to live a godly life, practice good deeds, and avoid foolish arguments (and the divisive people who cause them). This is a central theme in the book! (In 3:8, Paul emphasizes this theme by giving another "trustworthy statement" as he did in 1 Timothy 1:15; 3:1; 4:9; and 2 Timothy 2:11.).
While reflecting on God's mercy, I stopped to read The Temple by George Herbert (1593-1633), and it fit so providentially!
by George Herbert
Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack'd anything.
"A guest," I answer'd, "worthy to be here";
Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, the ungrateful? ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee."
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
"Who made the eyes but I?"
"Truth, Lord, but I have marr'd them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve."
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
"My dear, then I will serve."
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."
So I did sit and eat.
Sometimes it is healthy to remember what you once were before you met Christ. Tell God your testimony and praise Him for His great mercy as you do. Then go and tell someone else the great things God has done in you!
Does a greater realization of His mercy motivate you toward godly living and good deeds?
Thank You for asking us to dine with You. Amen.