Saturday, March 31, 2018

Titus 3:1-5 -- On Better Answers and Spiritual Regeneration

"Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"
Titus 3:1-5

I like the ideas here of how to live righteously and things to keep in mind in order to come to God.  I think I especially like it because it isn't the typical Sunday School answers of read scriptures, pray, and come to church.  Not that those aren't legitimately good answers, because they are--they are essential, core things that we need in our lives, and the basics that will always help us keep in contact with God.  They aren't the only things though, and I really enjoy this list.

  • Being subject to anything isn't always easy, but I think it helps us to learn humility and meekness and how to show respect for our fellow beings.
  • Obeying magistrates is a good idea legally, but it also helps us learn respect.
  • Being ready to every good work is a great one, and I think it helps us learn to say yes when people ask for help, rather than turning away and focusing on our own stuff... and turning outward and being other-focused helps us to learn love and service.
  • Speaking evil of no one is awesome, and really hard to do, but wow... what we learn from trying to do and think in that way.  Amazing.
  • Not brawling is important in terms of learning how to avoid fights and choose something else.
  • Gentleness and meekness really go together and I think show us what the "something else" is that we should be choosing.  Learning to put away our pride and focus on how we are treating others, no matter how they are treating us, is an essential step in learning to be Christlike.
The rest of this group of verses is pretty much explaining why we should do these things--why be gentle, kind, other-focused, and ready to serve rather than ready to fight?  Because we have been there.  We have been those foolish, disobedient, lustful, mean jerks that we run into, and if we appreciate kindness and respect as we learn to choose differently, so will others.  If God showed us kindness, love, and mercy when we were awful (as he did), then we should do the same for others.

God gave us the chance to regenerate spiritually--to be clean and to live a new life.  He renewed us through the Spirit.  Let's give others the same chance to be new and clean and to feel that truth and love from God.  Let's never say that anyone "deserves" unkindness or cruelty when we have been saved from what we ourselves at least used to deserve.  Let's instead emulate the kindness and gentleness of our Savior and try to add this list to our arsenal of answers to the questions of life. :)

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