So often in the Christian walk, the task at hand for us: that is, to “be holy, for I am holy” (1st Peter 1:16) by being “imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1), can get lost in the do’s and don’ts of life. Just recently in bible class, the idea of a “check list” came up it our discussion as we sought to reason through our commitment to Christ in this world. The fact of the matter is this, what God calls us to do in this world as His followers, is intimately woven into our awareness of what He has already done for us. What He has done is provided an inexhaustible amount of mercy towards sinful man.
Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey,
to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to
be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
The evangelist Titus was given a task to remind God’s people of how to conduct themselves, and in this case, it seems to be focusing on behavior towards those outside of Christ. The words chosen by the Holy Spirit speak directly to the Christian’s battle with dying to self; be subject, obey, peaceable, humility. What can help to empower us though, is the truth which follows this exhortation. We read, “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another” (Titus 3:3). Our calling to be Christlike in this lost and dying world can be overwhelming at times. It can so easily be twisted into an “us” and “them” sort of attitude. Although there is a difference between the two, we should never lose sight of the fact that we were once “them.” Entangled in the workings of this sinful world, caught up in the allurement of selfish desires. The message we are to bring them, is the message we ourselves needed, and still need to this day.
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward
man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we
have done, but according to His mercy he saved us…
Mercy; that is, God not giving us that which we deserve. No amount of service! No amount of transformation! No amount of righteousness on our part could save us from what we deserve. Paul said it concisely, “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). I believe it is this awareness that helps to empower us to live for Christ, realizing that we have “been justified by His grace” (Titus 3:7) “abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:6). That same mercy which has been so graciously extended to us should be evidenced through us in our day to day interactions with others. We do it because of mercy!