1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: Day 19

Christian Living

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Today's Text: Titus 3:1-15, 2 Corinthians 1:3-11, Ephesians 2:8-10

Scripture Reading: Titus 3:1-15, 2 Corinthians 1:3-11, Ephesians 2:8-10

Goodness, this passage reads like such good advice! The kind of advice I usually receive is more like:

Lay the baby on her front. (Read: late 80s.)
Lay the baby on her back. (Read: early 90s.)
Don’t sit on cold concrete. (Why?)
Clean the baseboards every week. (Please don’t make me.)
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. (This is actually pretty good advice.)
Never miss an opportunity to go to the lavatory. (It’s just true.)

Of course, receiving good advice and following it are two very different things. (I definitely don’t keep my baseboards properly cleaned.) We are often tempted to think that just knowing the right thing should be enough, a kind of salvation-by-information or salvation-by-education. But, as Paul points out, we aren’t the kind of people who just need another good bit of advice. We aren’t following the good advice we’ve already heard.

In fact, Paul is writing something much different from an advice column. He is talking about a transformation of life. We, left to ourselves “were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures” (Titus 3:3). And it wasn’t merely a bit of good advice that saved us. It was not someone offering an odious, “Here’s what you oughta do…” No, it was grace. God poured out His Spirit on us through Jesus Christ. We were justified, not by following a nifty list of suggestions, but purely by grace.

This salvation by grace, through Christ, by the work of His Spirit, is what we are to insist on. It is this which actually transforms us. Yes, there are things we ought to do and ought not to do, but grace alone is sufficient to transform us from fools who refuse sound wisdom, to sons and daughters who walk in the righteousness of Christ. “Insist on these things,” Paul says, “so that those who have believed God might be careful to devote themselves to good works” (v. 8). Devotion to good works is the fruit of God’s gracious work of transformation.

Don’t worry about advice. It’s tempting to read Paul’s words as a list of how we are falling short, and how we need to change our behavior so we fit in as God’s kind of people. We are already God’s people. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. And because of His sacrifice and His grace, He is changing us from the inside out. The work is done by Him. Step into the waters of regeneration and walk out a new creation. Paul is describing a whole new kind of humanity, one not achieved by human effort, but by God’s redemptive grace.

Thanks be to God!

SRT-TimothyTitus-Shareimage-Day19

  • Krista Sweeney

    Praise be to God! We are made alive through His unfailing grace, again and again, choosing to love us when we have nothing to give. We are made whole and holy in His righteousness.

  • Megan Drake

    I’ve heard it said, “Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good, but He came to give dead people life.” Which I think lines up with this chapter and Paul’s reminder of who we are in Christ (v. 4-7). Our good works are not simple behavior modification, but instead a result of going from death to life in Christ. How freeing!

  • Courtney Moyer

    It’s freeing to have the same grace God has for me; giving me opportunities to give it to those that may not be believers of Jesus Christ. How does one live without the grace and mercy of our Father? Titus 3:10 points out that after 2 attempts to correct an argument we are to walk away “not being around them”. I have to remind myself to not do the Holy Spirit work trying to fix and correct people. I have an abundance of grace to give in place of manipulating peoples way into thinking differently. Sometimes “walking away” is part of the Holy Spirit plan to reveal Himself to the person we struggle with.

  • Thank you Jesus! I am forever pushing myself to “do more” which I always think is because I am trying to demonstrate God’s grace for me by doing His work. But deep down, I really think I am trying to “be good” and “do good works” to please Him and win His favor. Grace is a very difficult concept to understand because of our human nature. Thank you for this reminder again that grace is what saves us and works are an outflow of that grace.

  • Hello. I am quite new to SRT and have not commented before, although I love to read all the insights from you all. The passages for the past few days have been so challenging and comforting to me. I’m encouraged to know that in all circumstances God’s grace is sufficient and overarches every situation. I’m challenged to really trust that and to allow the Holy Spirit to be present in my interactions with others. There is a lot of stress in my home at the moment, for various reasons. I find that my patience is frequently frayed as I try to keep the household functioning and meet widely differing needs. But, it is encouraging to read this morning that I can insist on the truth of God’s salvation and faithfulness. It is a powerful reminder that I should look to God and trust Him, rather than allowing circumstances to make me feel discouraged, anxious or exhausted. I’m also challenged today to respond graciously, regardless of the circumstances. For that, I definitely need to be relying on and focussed on the Holy Spirit.

    • Brittany Rugel

      I am right there with you, sister! Praying for abundant grace to flow over you and through you today, with peace and patience to follow!

  • Jamie Oleka

    It amazes me every time I think about God’s grace and mercy in my life. Also a good reminder that we can never earn God’s grace. It is freely given.

  • Dot Hardin

    Thankful that God’s grace is greater than all my sin!

  • Denise Powers Fabian

    My takeaway: Devotion to good works is the fruit of God’s gracious work of transformation.

  • I am always looking for the most efficient way to do something. When something feels off, I look to my fitness, my household cleanliness and my organization skills or my time to see what I could make better to make life feel “better.” However this passage reminded me that those things are not God-worthy things – they are helpful but will not replace my soul’s need to sit and pray with my Savior and recognize my dependence on Him. It also helps me see how God is seeing my life and if everything I am doing is in His will.

    At times Ephesians 2:8-10 makes me anxious – am I doing the right things for the Lord? Do I need to give up something so I can be doing these good works? Am I missing an opportunity? But if I truly look at the verse, I recognize that God has prepared me in advance for them, that by knowing my identity in Christ (heirs justified by grace) I will make the right choices and live for Him alone.

  • Jessica McCreary

    Great reminder of the power of His grace!!! ❤️❤️❤️

  • I have struggled for many years with feelings of inadequacy in my walk with God. It has taken me my full 60 years to begin to accept that God loves me for me and not for what I do. Slowly that is sinking in and what a relief and joy it is to feel unconditionally loved. Sometimes I just sit and just breathe it in.
    Recently I was thinking about why that is so hard for me to accept. Our world judges us by our performance and appearance. When we meet someone the first thing we see is their outward appearance and like it or not, we make assumptions about them based on that. One of the first things we talk about is what they ‘do’. Having been a stay at home mom, that has always been a sticky question for me to answer. People seem to glaze over when you say that and move on to someone more interesting.
    God doesn’t look at our outward appearance or our performance. He sees our heart. It is a totally different concept for us to accept. It is no wonder that we have trouble understanding Him. He is so patient and kind with me.
    May I be so with everyone I encounter each day. As Paul said, the greatest of these is Love. It is all about Love. He loves us so that we can love Him and others and ourselves.

  • Monica Davis

    Amen. Thanks God for grace

  • Churchmouse

    Is this not the tension: accepting His grace vs. focusing on ‘acceptable’ behavior? Ugh. I can get so focused on doing for Him that it undermines resting in what He has already done. I want to be an ambassador for Christ and so I create my list of ‘shoulds.’ My list is so lame when held up to the generosity of His grace. I am all too human. And I am all so grateful He understands the struggle.

  • Overwhelmed by God’s amazing grace….rather than shame ourselves thinking how far we have to go…let’s actually focus on letting that amazing grace flow from us into others especially those we might initially judge.

  • Laurie Crary

    It is all grace.

  • Laurie Churchill

    I loved the last section Eph 2:8-10 I thought that was so good!

  • Lori Lackey

    I have so often failed, and God has so often, restored me. though I am not at a place of perfection, I am at a place of understanding. God has also placed me in a position of leadership. this is the time of year, hard decisions are made. I have an employee, that is quite angry with me, and is saying unkind things. I have to keep Titus 3 in mind, that I was once that person, and I need to show kindness to her.

    • DebRN

      Recently , I thought about taking the mean spiritedness toward me as something I had done. I was thinking about us being all in the body of Christ and how we are much quicker to forgive ourselves and move on. It actually helped me calm down. And we shouldn’t be too surprised that we meet drama and misunderstanding everyday. Isn’t work in the world a great place for God to disciple us? As a result of this devotion, I have recorded three things for God to do in my life today: Please Lord, keep me from being quarrelsome; let me malign no one and let me be considerate to all In Your Eyes. If you know anything about working with women in a stressful environment, here we go! I am trusting God to make a way. I trust you will do the same. He is faithful. Let us know!

      • LizC

        Good advice for anyone in a leadership position. I will focus on these three things as well.

  • Joanne de Graaf

    Thank you God for justifying us purely by your grace❤️

  • Shara Case

    Love this so much… as a mom the “salvation by information” thing is a trap I fall into easily. It’s so logical and less scary to just want to impart the truth to them and think “ok well they know A… so B should follow.” We need grace and Holy Spirit to change hearts and this is a good reminder to rely on that instead of the safer formulas which don’t work anyway…

  • Tina from England – Where are you? I hope you are doing ok. Been praying for your nephew. Hope the sun is shining on you today. Miss your commentary. Sending “love wrapped hugs from across the pond” :)

    • Joyjoy

      Echoing CJ. Have loved and been comforted and encouraged by the real-ness of Tina literally for years. Love to you, thoughts and prayers on this sunny morning in Georgia.

    • Martha

      Yes!! I too miss your insights Tina!! ❤️

      • Pat Plopper

        I also miss Tina! Many times she has encouraged me and added light to my day

  • Really loved these passages! The one about comforting others through the comfort we have received from God always fills me joy.

    It’s wonderful that these are things we have already been given. The prerequisites are all there. We have all the tools through the spirit. But I don’t think it’s as easy as just rolling out of bed in the morning and you’re automatically going to be gentle and kind to everyone. We still have to be intentional about accepting those gifts. If it was easy, then Paul wouldn’t have had to tell Titus to insist on these things. If it was easy, we wouldn’t see so much hurtful behavior in our families and communities. It’s a continual process of reminding ourselves that we have been given this gift and if we reflect on the comfort and joy and forgiveness that we received, then we will share that with others!

    • PamC

      Elle your comment on us “intentionally accepting the gifts” was a pure “ah-ha!” moment for me. Thank you!

  • Thank you Rebecca for using your gifts to bring joy to my heart this morning. God used these words to remind me that he loves me.

  • This devotion brought such joy to my heart this morning! I love the reminder that we were all once foolish, lost, sinners but because of the goodness and lovingkindness, because of God’s grace and mercy HE SAVED US! I pray that today I will keep this truth in the front of my brain. I have been saved by God’s grace and mercy. I did nothing to earn that salvation. Papa God, help me to treat my students and fellow teachers with kindness and gentleness today, remembering that You love them and died for them. “INSIST ON THESE THINGS!”
    Be blessed today, sweet sisters.

    • Lori

      Thanks so much you Kathy for your words of practical application. I am also a teacher and am finding this to be a difficult month of too much to do. I asking God in the crazy to place at the front of my brain the joy of my salvation and the sweet truth that He loves everyone I see today. Praying this for you too!

  • Kaitlyn Reed

    The last paragraph summed up so much of my struggle. Believing that this regeneration of my life is based on my efforts, and so when I’m failing at producing fruit it feels like I’m not even really a child of God, otherwise I’d be doing better. But, it’s HIS work. He is the one doing it all in me. I am His, and He is working me from the inside out. He is the one producing fruit in my life. Thank God it’s not of my own efforts but by His grace!

    • Kelly R. Smith

      Yes! So well said. It’s a truth I didn’t understand for most of my Christian life.

    • Leah

      Kaitlyn, this is my struggle as well. Thanks for putting it into words. I often get very hard on myself because I’m not growing faster. But the reality is that the grace that transforms us also gives us permission to be in process and messy. I think when we base our worth in how fast we are growing it measuring up, we forget that grace holds us while we are growing as well. Blessings!

      • Rachel

        Beautiful reminder Leah! “The graces that transforms us also gives us permission to be in process and messy”. I wrote that down!

      • Julie

        Leah thank you for these words. I like the idea of God’s grace giving us permission to be in the process and messy and that this same grace holds us while we are growing as well. I too will need to write this down. I can be hard on my progress just as Kaitlin stated but I have to trust that all is being worked out for His Glory. It’s not me but God doing the work in and through me. I am ever so grateful and humbled by this. Blessings :)

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