Advent: December 22

Advent: December 22

Titus 2:11-14, 3:3-7

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

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.

There are some passages in the Bible that just ask, nay, demand to be learnt, if not by heart, then at least to the point of intimate recognition. May I suggest that verses 11-14 above are worthy of heart memory?

Do you struggle with ungodliness? I do. Worldly passions can draw me in the wrong direction. As to my self-control, well… I don’t want to compare the quality of my spiritual life with that of others, and I do not want others to do that to me, unless, of course, they see me as a shining example of godliness! I’d prefer, however, that we all compare ourselves to Christ Jesus, who not only is a perfect example, but also is the One who gives us the means to attain these things.

Jesus paid the price for my sins. Done. He also is cleansing and purifying us (plural, again) to be the people who are his own. It’s true that I struggle with some things, but I’d dare to say that they are not the things I struggled with in the past.

Have you ever tried to wash a car on a very hot and sunny day? Extra soaks are needed to cool the hot shell, and the wash leaves streaks as it dries before being wiped off. It doesn’t take long for it to pick up more muck, even standing on the drive. My car may carry muck for longer than the neighbour over the way, but when it’s cleaned it looks as clean as the neighbour’s.

My entry into faith was a spiritual washing and a rebirth. A complete valet job. A complete rebirth in Jesus through his Holy Spirit. By grace I stand justified – no-one may accuse me – and I am an inheritor of God’s eternity. It’s an amazing act of grace.

My daily life is still rife with all sorts of traps and enticements. I slip into them from time to time. By God’s grace I may repent and be forgiven. When I ponder upon the mercy shown to this sinner and the costly unwarranted grace poured out on me, the pull of worldly things falls away.

Can we all live as Christ’s very own?

Do you see your place in heaven?

What do you think is the inheritance God’s eternity?

Father God, You have done so much for me and my church fellowship family, that I will spend eternity still trying to get to grips with it. Thank you for your mercy, your grace, your forgiveness and for our inheritance in you. Amen.

I learnt this song at a Church Army holiday club 60 years ago:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6MFOd-8ERU

It appears to be popular still: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZKaDliaNwE

Paul