Our Summer holiday on Crete is rapidly coming to a close: this is our final postcard.
We’ve seen in Paul’s letter to Titus that God has shown sinful people his Saviour – Jesus – who is the way into sharing God’s own eternal life.
We’ve seen that Jesus is God’s gift to us – so that salvation depends entirely on him and not on us. And we’ve seen that asking Jesus to be our Saviour will change our hopes and our behaviour.
So how are people saved by Jesus called to live?
Let’s revisit some verses in Titus 3:
3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
8 This is a trustworthy saying. And 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. 9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. (Titus 3:3-9)
The answer is in verses 8-9.
1) Keep trusting God
Paul keeps hammering home just how much God the Father, through Jesus, has done for us. He’s shown his love to us. He’s saved us. He’s washed and renewed us by his Holy Spirit. He’s justified us (declared us in-the-right with God). He’s made us heirs of eternal life.
And he wants these things stressed so that our trust remains firmly in God: the Father, the Son and the Spirit. Left to ourselves we’re “enslaved” and live in “malice and envy” or end up in useless “arguments and quarrels”.
So if we trust God for his salvation, let’s keep trusting him. We could never save ourselves from slavery to sin. We could never make ourselves in-the-right with God. But Jesus has saved us. Jesus has made us in-the-right with God. And we forget these things too easily, or think we have had some part in them.
No, let’s rejoice that God alone has done this – and keep trusting him.
2) Devote yourself to doing good
But trusting God isn’t an armchair sport. It’s not passive. Those who have been saved are to “devote themselves to doing what is good.”
This is a wonderfully open brief: a direction of travel, not a list of specifics. But it should cause each of us to ask: what good is God calling me to do?
The Cretans were to stop lying and stop being lazy. We may need to do likewise. The Christians were to love, seek purity, be self-controlled, be kind and show integrity. We will need to do likewise.
But most of all, as those who know Jesus, we are to consider how to do good in the place God has put us. In our homes and neighbourhoods, in our workplaces and our church, with those family and friends we spend time with: are you eager to do good?
And are you asking God to help you do good? Considering Jesus will help us do good. And pointing other people to him will show them the best goodness they can find.
What will all this mean for you?
Can I suggest that you pray each day this week, telling God once more that you trust him and asking for all his help to be eager in doing good?
With love in Christ