28 March • Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Lent
9 Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
3:1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.
4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.
These things are excellent and profitable for people.
9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. 14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.
15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith.
Grace be with you all.
I often visit elderly parents whose Christian children are concerned about their salvation. Generally, I have three kinds of experiences. Some prayed to receive Christ the first time I visited. Some declined for heartstring reasons. But after more visits, they became open and prayed to receive Christ. The third is the hardest. They have been offended by Christians. A few eventually came to Christ after many visits. Many slammed the door shut on Christ.
But I also observe another pattern. Regardless of the elderly’s experience with other Christians, those who prayed to receive Christ usually have Christian children or grandchildren who love them in practical ways. Indeed, it is the work of the Spirit who convicts hearts. But it is the lives and actions of Christians around them that either harden or soften the hearts of non-Christians.
Titus, the pastor of the church in Crete, faced challenges from false teachers who offered an adulterated Christianity that condoned ungodliness. Paul wrote the letter asking Titus to exhort the believers, that in the light of the Holy Spirit’s “regeneration and renewal… those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.” (3:5-8) The Gospel is transformative. One cannot be touched by the Gospel and remain unchanged.
This season of Lent is a reminder that the transformative work is already accomplished on the Cross. What challenges or difficulties are you facing now? Remember you have the Spirit of the Risen Christ who empowers you to “live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2:12-13) Your life can be the bridge to others’ knowledge of and coming to Christ.
Dear God, Thank You for Christ and His transforming work on the Cross. In this season of Lent, grant me the desire to deal intentionally with the things in my life that do not stand up to the scrutiny of the godliness described in Your Word. I pray that indeed, my life might be the bridge to another person’s knowledge of Christ.
Is there anything in your life that is obscuring your Christian testimony? Pray and ask God to reveal to you afresh the accomplished work of transformation of Christ on the Cross. May you find strength to overcome whatever that is affecting your walk with Christ and your testimony of Christ.
Rev Dr Alby Yip
Zion Bishan Bible-Presbyterian Church