“For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men” (Titus 3:3-8).

The Apostle Paul, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, wrote the above words to Titus, whom he had discipled and trained for the ministry and had placed him as pastor in the church in Crete.

Paul was instructing this newly ordained pastor in some things that he needed to “constantly affirm” (i. e. preach) to the believers in the church. That prior to their salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, that they had been part of the ungodliness of the world living self-centered lives full of hatred, envy, lust, and lawlessness. But now that they were “regenerated” (i. e. bon again) they were to leave peaceably, kindly, maintaining good works (as evidence of salvation, not the means of it).

Because God has preserved these writings of Paul in His Holy Word, the Bible, I believe that pastors, preachers, and teachers need to be “constantly affirming” these truths to believers today.

It is so easy for us to get caught-up in the emotions, hatred, divisions, and antichrist spirit of that prevails in the world. However, we are admonished, “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation” (Hebrews 6:9).

As Christians, we are not to have the same spirit as the world (that is, unbelievers), “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (1 Corinthians 2:12).

Born again Believers are indwelled with the Holy Spirit of God and should be living a life that reflects the love and grace of God.

Even though Christians are subject to the ills of this sin-cursed world, we suffer from tragedy, illness, death, etc., we are still to live a life of expectation and hope, not one of immorality, despair, distrust, fear, and hatred.

Paul, again under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, making his words, the words of God, gives believers the reason for optimism and hope that should be shared with others, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us … For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Romans 8:18, 24-25).

As Paul also wrote to Titus, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:11-14).

Roy Delia is pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church, Ontario. He can be reached in care of The Argus Observer, 1160 S.W. Fourth St., Ontario, OR 97914. The Argus Observer weekly faith column features a rotation of writers from many different faiths and perspectives.

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