This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE
I hope and pray that you are enjoying and growing as we study “The Good Life” in Titus this school year!
Victoria Kelly taught us from Titus 3:3-8 last time. She explained: “Chapter 3 sees the shift from our duties in the church and the home, to how we conduct ourselves around humanity and within our culture. Our responsibility for the world: is to instruct others in the way of truth because we were once without God ourselves. Without a personal experience of salvation, we lack the right to instruct others, but because of the joy to be found in the transformation of our lives through Jesus, we can share the good news with others and lay out the grounds of Christian doctrine, which is salvation through the trinity.”
The following is the first of three excerpts of Victoria’s talk where she teaches with the analogy of a “salvation cake” to better grasp Paul’s message to us in this letter to Titus. Take time to read the first ingredient and reflect and share with someone today! Love, Kathy
The first ingredient:
1. Facing the truth about ourselves – The need for salvation
“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.” (Titus 3:3)
Why do we need salvation? It is explained fully here in verse 3.
We were: Foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved, envious, full of malice, hating each other. It paints an unsavoury picture of us as people before we had Christ.
- This picture is the image of human life without grace. It describes our brokenness and rebellion in our lack of relationship with God.
So what does it mean to have a personal rebellion towards God?
- To be foolish is referenced as someone who doesn’t live as though there is a God. Ignoring God. Ignorant of the true purpose of life….
- … To be disobedient is to reject God’s rule and we want to run our own life. We repress the conscience within us, ignoring it and living the life we want….
- …. We were ‘deceived and enslaved’. We allow ourselves to reason, excuse various passions. Without God we were at the beck and call of sinful desires. The enemy takes pleasure in this and blinds us and takes us captive. We were slaves to him, but also slaves to our own sin. Trapped by the habits that we choose. Enslaved, is such a powerful image. To be a slave to something is hard work, torturous, relentless, it has control of you. Whilst the sin itself may come easy, the consequence of sin is painful. The enemy is quick to prowl and bring us down, he will rejoice in doing this. At the same time we can’t disregard our own responsibility of sin and saying no to it.
- …Our relationship with others was disruptive. Paul states we were full of ‘malice’ and ‘envy’. Wishing evil and resenting the good, fed by personal jealousies and ambitions and then ‘hate’. Having hostility towards each other and not wanting to do good to them.
What an ugly picture we have been. It is clear when we see a list like that that there was a fracture in our relationship with God, but also with everyone else too. Our choices have created patterns of personal behaviour that enslave us. No wonder we needed saving.
But how can we go from that life to another?
We can’t just exchange addiction for freedom on our own. It doesn’t work like that, especially as we were blind to needing to be changed in the first place. We need someone to save us. To rescue us. The answer is in verse 5: “he saved us”.
Look what we brought to the table in verse 3. We brought nothing good! We faced condemnation, judgement and death. But, “he saved us”. Romans 5:8 reminds us, “But here is how God has shown his love for us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Because of the knowledge and understanding of God saving us from our own selves, it should give us the confidence to share this good news with others, as we come from a personal experience of salvation.
It is not the end of the baking! The salvation cake is not made yet! Look for ingredient two next week!