October 28, 2018
MORE THAN FORGIVEN, MADE RIGHTEOUS
God’s unmerited favor has been expressed toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us, so that we are more than forgiven, we are made right with God. When a debt is forgiven, it brings the account up to zero. But God has done more than forgive our sin debt. He has accounted the righteousness of Christ unto us, so that we are justified, made righteous before God. Our sin debt is paid in full, even more, the righteousness of Christ is now ours.
This grace not only makes us right with God, it gives us confidence, so that we know we will inherit eternal life. What amazing grace this is!
October 27, 2018
THE GRACE OF GOD SHINING FORTH
The unmerited favor of God has been revealed in Christ, so that all humanity might be saved, both those of low estate and those of high, whether far or near. This grace of God is revealed in the gospel of God (See Col. 1:6). It is sufficient to save all those who believe. Yet, to those who reject it, there is no other means of salvation.
Some have seen in this word, “revealed,” which literally means, “to shine upon,” a comparison to the rising of the sun. For as the sun rises, it does not enlighten the whole earth at once, but steadily is comprehended from east to west as the day progresses. This grace of God, which first shone forth from Calvary’s hill, even now steadily shines into the darkness of this world “as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14).
This grace of God now shines forth from every believer whose heart has been set aflame by the gospel, who obey Christ’s great commission to make disciples of all nations.
October 26, 2018
TITUS AND THE CHURCH OF CRETE
Although it is uncertain when the apostle Paul visited the island of Crete, that he did visit it, and that he left Titus behind to establish its church, is a matter of history. Paul’s pattern would have been to do this work himself, but some pressing concern must have caused him to entrust this foundation work to his spiritual son, Titus.
My wife and I visited Crete in 2013. We walked from the harbor to its capital, Heraklion, and there found the object of our journey, namely, the Agios Titos, the Church of Saint Titus. Within this Greek Orthodox Church, they claim to have the skull of Saint Titus, proudly displaying it in a gold-encrusted setting. The practice of keeping relics is an ancient one and it seems certain that neither Titus nor Paul would’ve wanted such. Yet, the existence of the church, and even the macabre (to Western eyes) relic of Saint Titus, point to the reality that the church planting efforts of Paul and Titus are still in view.
October 28, 2016
As Paul gave Titus final instructions on supplying the needs of visiting ministers before sending them on their way, he gave this instruction concerning a believer’s readiness “to help cases of urgent need.” In Paul’s day, there were no civil emergency workers, no firefighters, no paramedics, and no 911 to call. The members of the early church learned to be ready to help with urgent needs. It was this combination of the gospel message and gospel compassion that turned the world upside down and increased the spread of the gospel. When plagues, persecutions, wars, famines or even hurricanes came, the gospel was carried in the same hands that carried help for those in need. In this day of tight schedules and busy-ness, are we learning to “devote” ourselves to this kind of readiness to help those with an “urgent need?” Our readiness to help is often the key to their readiness to hear.
October 28, 2015
Paul instructed Titus to teach the Cretan Christians in how to live before men, so that the gospel might be seen in them. Apparently, believers on this Greek island were not living lives that lined up with their faith. They were no different than the culture around them. Even the name, “Cretan,” was proverbial for being lazy and a liar (Tit.1:12). Therefore, they were to start being known for being submissive and obedient, to being good workers and peaceable, gentle, and humble to all. In other words, they were to show forth the Jesus that lived within them to those who lived around them. What are Christians in our generation known for?
October 28, 2014
Be careful not to judge those who are lost as if you are better than they. Remember that God saved us not according to us, but according to Jesus. We have not earned salvation, nor are we able to work at keeping it. It is the mercy and grace of God which is revealed in Christ Jesus that both saves and keeps us. For we were once lost and dead in our sins too, but now we are washed clean and made alive spiritually because of Christ. So, stop judging others and stop judging yourself too. Rest in Christ’s finished work. Announce to everyone you meet this Good News of God’s grace and mercy that is found in Christ alone.
October 27, 2013
How to live in this “present age” while we wait for the One who will inaugurate the next. Paul lived with an awareness that Christ could appear at any time. This gave him a holy urgency to live in view of Christ’s return and of the coming age. Although much has changed since Paul’s day, much remains the same. We still live in the age before Christ’s return. When? Soon, and very soon.
October 26, 2013
Paul viewed his role as preacher as being both a trust to steward and a calling to obey. I’m often asked, “How did you know that you were called to preach?” My answer? How does a woman know that she is pregnant? There is a growing awareness that something new and different is taking place within. Ultimately, there is a state not easily ignored and a message that cries out to be birthed. As Paul also said, “Woe to me if I do not preach!” (1 Cor. 9:16).
October 27, 2012
Paul told Titus to teach believers about the freedom Christ had purchased for them. This freedom was not only from sin, but also unto righteousness. And from what “kind” of sin has Christ set us free? Every kind! So stop saying that your particular sin area is too deeply ingrained, too dirty, too much for His grace. His grace is sufficient to free us from “every kind” of sin. If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed!
October 28, 2011
Are you striving and falling short of your own spiritual expectations? Remember that it was because of God’s love and mercy that we are saved. Have you learned to rest in this truth? Stop your self-effort and learn to lean.