Something better

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. It trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave himself for us to set us free from every kind of lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are truly his, who are eager to do good. Titus 2.11-14

The grace of God is multifaceted, 1 Peter 4.10, and we can see two facets of it here in Titus 2. Paul is reminding Titus that God’s grace trains us both to reject certain behaviors and to add certain characteristics to our lives.

Grace trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires. Many times while studying with people about the gospel, a person is struggling with the decision to become a Christian and will have a misconception that they can get their life right and then obey the gospel. There is only one problem. Without God’s grace, it is impossible to get your life right. You do not have the power within you to accomplish such a task no matter how hard you try.

Grace also trains us to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives now in the present. With all of the problems going on in the world today, one is tempted to give in to the daily battles with sin that is experienced. But, grace trains us to be self-controlled. No matter how bad things get, God’s grace is sufficient to see me through whatever situation.

Jesus died for us to have freedom from every form of lawlessness. Not that it will not exist, but we do not have to give in to it. He calls us to something better, something purer. He calls us to share his good news and to be eager to do good.

#risingjoy #Titus #grace

Can you identify yourself?

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

For we too were once foolish, disobedient, misled, enslaved to various passions and desires, spending our lives in evil and envy, hateful and hating one another. But “when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior. And so, since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life.” Titus 3.3-7

Can you identify yourself in the first verse of our reading? If we are honest, I dare say that we can all find a word that has described us in the past. The force of the dark power was strong in many of us. What changed?

The kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind brought about a change. God took the initiative. He saved us, not because of any thing righteous that we have done. He saved us because he is merciful.

How is his mercy applied? His mercy is applied through the washing of the new birth which is a reference to baptism, John 3.3-5. Peter tells his audience in Acts 2.38 that upon our baptism, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Paul tells Titus that God poured out his Spirit in full measure through Jesus Christ. God is generous towards us.

There is nothing I can do to stand justified before God on my own merit. It is because of his grace that I can stand before him. Not only this, but I stand with confidence knowing that I am his child.

#risingjoy #Titus #mercy

Family priority

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Older women likewise are to exhibit behavior fitting for those who are holy, not slandering, not slaves to excessive drinking , but teaching what is good. In this way they will train the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, fulfilling their duties at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the message of God may not be discredited. Titus 2.3-5

Sound teaching is not the only thing that is important. Paul writes to Titus and tells him to communicate the behavior that goes along with it. In this instruction to Titus, there are only two things stated in a negative way, not slandering and not being addicted to drinking. As women we must act with reverence. We cannot be talking badly about others while acting with reverence. With all the information that is available about drinking, that speaks for itself. We are to be able to teach what is good. It is interesting that the family here is to take priority. Loving our husbands, our children, and fulfilling our duties at home are very important. Then, there are personal traits that we must work on, self-control, purity, kindness, and submission. These things do not come to us naturally. They have to be taught. The world today teaches the exact opposite to our young women. “You can have it all” is a lie that Satan has fed so many. If we are not practicing these things, then we are discrediting the message of God.

#risingjoy #Titus #women

Love through the fog

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

But “when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior. And so, since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life.” Titus 3.4-7

There is nothing that I can do to stand before God on my own merit. I cannot stand before him with a list of good deeds that he should stamp with his approval to let me enter his kingdom. John 3.16 tells us that God so loved the world, mankind, that he gave Jesus as a sacrifice for my sins. It was not my good deeds that allow me to stand before God for I had messed up with all the things I had done that were not good. But, because of his mercy, God took the initiative. His kindness and love shine through the fog of deception that I weave around my mind telling myself that I am good. I am washed clean by baptism and renewed by the Holy Spirit. God is not miserly! He pours his Spirit out on us in full measure through Jesus. His grace justifies me! I did not deserve it, but he gave it to me anyway. I become an heir of eternal life. God makes that possible. I can be confident of the expectation of life eternal in heaven.

#risingjoy #Titus #grace

Communicate behavior

“But as for you, communicate the behavior that goes with sound teaching.”

Titus 2.1

Among a people known for their bad behavior, Tt 1.12, Titus was instructed to give special attention to the conduct of the converted.

Modern society lacks self-control, thinks only of sex, lives to accumulate possessions. What must be taught to young and old, men and women today?

#votd #Titus #conduct

Short introduction to Titus

When churches are first established, they usually lack organizational structure and practical wisdom. Titus is instructed to help set those things in order in the church at Crete (1:5).

Qualified elders (shepherds) should be appointed as soon as possible, to protect the flock from spiritual harm (1:5-9). Older saints must be encouraged to influence younger ones in their manner of life (2:1-8). Those saints who are not free (slaves) must not forfeit their fidelity to the Lord by harboring or seeking ill-will toward those who own them (2:9-10).

All are to be submissive to the civil authorities, so as to not promote the unrest and turmoil that is oft associated with worldly-minded people (3:1-3). In this way, the church shows itself serious and godly people—a people more concerned with the appearing of the Lord than mundane matters (2:11-14).

Since God extended abundant mercy to them through Christ—through the washing of regeneration (baptism) and renewal of the Holy Spirit (submission to His word)—Christians live in hope, and their lives are characterized by good works (3:4-8, 14). They avoid irrelevant talk and do not suffer fools (3:9-11).

May we grow more in His grace as we study this beautiful book.

Rick Kelley, “Prestonburg (KY) Informer,” Nov. 10.

#elders, #nt-introduction, #titus

Sharing a Bible verse from my reading.

I have been concentrating on the letter of Titus and impressed with the many references to doing good deeds. In Titus 3:5, it says that “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy…” But verse eight says that Titus is to speak confidently, “so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds.”

We are saved by the mercy of God, but we need to “be ready for every good deed” (Titus 3:1).

#good-deeds, #mercy, #titus