Day 19

Christian Living

from the 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus reading plan

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

BY Rebecca Faires

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!


Post Comments (37)

37 thoughts on "Christian Living"

  1. Krista Sweeney says:

    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.

  2. Megan Drake says:

    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!

  3. Courtney Moyer says:

    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.

  4. Karen says:

    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.

  5. Jen says:

    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.

    1. Brittany Rugel says:

      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!

  6. Jamie Oleka says:

    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.

  7. Dot Hardin says:

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

  8. Denise Powers Fabian says:

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

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