Wednesday in the Twenty-First Week of Ordinary Time

Titus 3:1-7

We Ourselves Were Once So Foolish

It’s easy to be hard on the world, especially when the world is so hard on you.  We live in difficult times, when paganism is gaining the upper hand, and pagans of influence are seeking to bring the weight of that hand down upon the Church and believers.  It’s easy to get mad and be filled with righteous indignation.

But Paul tells Titus to remind his charges of something very important.  First, they are to…well, just be good people: Obey the rulers and all authorities, be obedient and ready to do a good deed all the time, to mind their tongues, avoid quarrelling, and be gentle and courteous to everyone they meet.  “But they’re so mean to us,” you say.  “Yes,” says Paul: “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”  We were really that bad?  Why, yes, we were.  But something happened to us: “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” 

Yes, we were all that, but God saved us by His grace; there was frankly no other way for us to be saved.  So we cannot look too harshly upon them—those of the world who hate us, for we used to be and would still be in the same position as they—hating and being hated.  And what we have that makes us different from them—our salvation—we have through the work of Christ alone.  We’ve no reason to boast at all, and if anyone will judge, we leave that to God. 

And now being justified by His grace, we are heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  We’ve gained everything and lost nothing.  We are now free to love them, even though they persecute us in return.  We look in their faces and wince when we see ourselves in them; we know the pain they feel inside, the wretched slavery to one’s passions, the emptiness of chasing sundry vanities.  So we do them good, because Christ has done us good, and we hope will do them good as well.  There is pity mixed in, but it is a good pity; for by it we hope that we may be used of the Lord to bring them to the same regenerating power and rebirth of the Holy Spirit.  Yes, we were once so foolish.  Let us never forget that.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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