Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Titus: before and after

Read Titus 3:1-3

Ever taken at peek at those weight-loss ads in the Sunday magazine? The ones with the full-color "after" where the person looks vigrant, healthy, and, of course, slender. The "before" photos are usually pretty dismal.

Weight-loss ads have to include the phrase "weight loss not typical" but Paul's letter to Titus didn't need that phrase, because he wrote about genuine change.

As Paul wrote this letter to Titus, he wanted the church in Crete to remember that believers are different than non-believers and their actions will be different as well.

Sometimes we forget that, too. We want to blend in, because those who act differently are often laughed at. And who wants to be laughed at?

But just like those fit and slender "after" photos draw us, so does Paul's list.

Here are Paul's description of believers. These are the "after" shots. Look at these:
  • Subject to rulers and authorities
  • Obedient
  • Ready to whatever is good
  • Slander no one
  • Peaceable
  • Considerate
  • Humble
Now look at verse 3, where he lists traits for “what we were”:
  • Foolish
  • Disobedient
  • Deceived
  • Enslaved by passions and pleasures
  • Living in malice
  • Envious
  • Hated and hating

Do you see much difference between the two lists? Believers were changed - not into moralistic puppets - but into those who love others and live by God's grace and love.

People were drawn to Jesus' love and kindness. Do we shine with that? Does our "after" snapshot look good?

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
Titus 3:4-5

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