Thursday, January 3, 2008
What's this passage all about?
Paul finishes his letter to Titus with instructions to do what is good, because of the gospel of salvation.
What can I learn from this?
In this chapter, Paul gives a number of directions, but the one that jumped out at me is to "do what is good," because Paul repeated this phrase three times. 3:1 "Remind the people ... to be ready to do whatever is good." 3:8 "... I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone." 3:14 "Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good..." What I do is important to God. I must be prepared and determined to do good. Much of the detail of good in this chapter relates to peaceable actions that will unite the church, rather than foolish ones that divide it. Paul again (3:2, cf 2:3) reminds me not to be a slanderer.
Sandwiched in the middle, Paul reminds Titus of the gospel of salvation through God's mercy, rather than through deeds. 3:5 is critical: "He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy." This reminds me of Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." Both of these verses tell me that, while what I do is important because it brings either glory or dishonour to God, it is not my own goodness that will save me. It is God's precious gift to me through His Son, Jesus Christ.
How can I apply this to my own life?
At the moment, I am convicted that I need to be aware that doing good is not just something that happens in the presence of others. Already, even though yesterday I reflected upon the danger of gossip, I have had to repent of this very act. Not that I said anything to anyone - actually, I got caught up in reading a huge slanging match online after I read some Amazon reviews for a certain book. It wasn't until my internet connection dropped out (Thank you, God!) that I realised what I had done. I need to be more aware of the dangers of online gossip