Faith That Is Alive

Titus 3:3-7 (RSV)
"For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by men and hating one another; but when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life."

This is a Scriptural passage as applicable to all of us today as it was when Paul wrote these words in a letter to his brother in Christ, Titus. It is wonderful that, in spite of the fact we were once bound to the sins listed above, that Jesus came and saved us from them. Not because of anything we have done, for there is really nothing we can do to be saved, but because of His mercy and grace. It is truly wonderful that God has also granted us the presence of the Holy Spirit to regenerate and renew us so that we may attain eternal life with Christ. Something the law cannot do.

"The saying is sure. I desire you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men." (Titus 3:8)

Through the leading of the Holy Spirit we can do good deeds, and from pure rather than selfish motives. That is the part of the beauty of the Gospel of Christ.

"But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels over the law, for they are unprofitable and futile. As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned." (Titus 3:9-11)

This advice all of us who have participated in law vs. grace debates or arguments can take to heart. As Christians and as individuals, we will have differences of opinions and beliefs on this issue as well as others. But we should still consider ourselves Christian siblings and agree to disagree agreeably. Sometimes in the heat of debate we forget to remember this. It is very easy for us to fall into this trap. And Satan loves to see Christians fighting among themselves rather than upbuilding and encouraging one another's faith.

"And let our people learn to apply themselves to good deeds, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not to be unfruitful." (Titus 3:14)

This is timely advice for our time. According to Christ, one of the factors that will determine our eternal fate will be whether our faith was alive or dead (Matthew 25:31-46), whether we helped those in need or neglected them. A faith that is alive, that is fueled by the Holy Spirit, will help us to do good works with pure motives. A dead faith is one that neglects the needs of others (James 2:14-26). If we all can continue to learn or find ways to help one another, Christians and non-Christians alike, we will do well. All will see Christ's light shining in us and know that we are His followers. And as a moth is drawn to light piercing the darkness, our faith and actions stemming from faith will attract others to Christ.

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