The Importance of Reminders
Titus 3:1-3 ESV
“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 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.”
Did you know that if you are a person who tends to remind people of things, it is not necessarily a bad quality? The writers of the New Testament did it as a regular practice. I found 9 passages of Scripture that use the word “remind” to speak to the importance of reminding Christians of certain things, but there are many reminders in Scripture, not just these.
We obviously need to be reminded of the ways of Christ, and of the importance of us walking in those ways. We need to be reminded of the truth of the gospel as Jesus and as Paul and the other apostles taught it. For, it is being greatly distorted and adulterated in our present day.
We need to be reminded to “fan into flame” the gift of God within us – our salvation from bondage to sin, our new lives in Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit living within us, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit he has given to us to be used in the areas of ministry which God has assigned each one of us.
It is necessary for us to be reminded of many things such as sharing in suffering as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, not getting tangled in civilian pursuits, and that if we have died with him to sin, we will also live with him, but if we deny him by our lives, he will also deny us, and so on and so forth.
And then it is essential to be reminded to be submissive to rulers and authorities, but also of the biblical exceptions to such submission. For, we are not to bow to or worship the beast, we are not to bow to other gods, we are not to submit to denying our Lord or to stop sharing the gospel, etc.
Definitely we must be reminded of the importance of obedience – yes to human authority as long as that authority does not require us to disobey the Lord in any way, but more importantly obedience to our Lord Jesus and to his commands (New Covenant).
And why do we need all these reminders? Because we are flesh. We live in flesh bodies, and thus we still have a propensity to sin against God. And we do forget things, especially as we age, we do. And we can get distracted by things and pulled back into the ways of this sinful world if we are not careful.
For, before we trusted in Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior, and we died with him to sin, and we were raised with him to newness of life in him, we were enslaved to sin and to doing all manner of evil. But then the Lord delivered us from our slavery to sin so we might now become slaves of God and of his righteousness.
[Rom 5:15; 1 Co 4:17; 1 Co 15:1; 2 Tim 1:5-6; 2 Tim 2:1-16; Tit 3:1-2; 2 Pet 1:12-13; 2 Pet 3:1; Jude 1:5; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24]
Devote Yourselves to Good Works
Titus 3:8 ESV
“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.”
Yes, it is true that we do nothing in ourselves to earn or to deserve our own salvation. We can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws (persuades, convinces) us to believe in Jesus. Our faith is founded in Jesus Christ, it is perfected by him, and it is gifted to us by God.
We can only be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God because of Jesus’ blood sacrifice of his life given for us on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us.
But our salvation from sin is not mere forgiveness of sins and the promise of heaven when we die. When we believe in Jesus with God-given faith, we surrender our lives to Jesus, to be his, to do his will. We die with him to sin, and we are raised with him to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Yes, we are not saved by our own good works done in our flesh according to our own will for our lives. But we are saved to good works which God prepared in advance that we should walk in them. We must, therefore, walk (in conduct, in practice) not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. We must no longer make sin our practice, but righteousness should now be what we practice, or we don’t have eternal life with God.
So, even though we are not saved by our own fleshly works, we must be careful to devote ourselves to the good works of God done in the power of God’s Spirit within us as we yield control of our lives over to the Lord, and we walk in obedience to his commands, and we do what he says to do.
Jesus said that if we want to come after him we must deny self, take up our cross daily (daily die with him to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. This is the essence of the gospel message. For, if we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin) for the sake of Jesus, we will have eternal life.
But we don’t do this, and we can’t do this in our flesh. That is why Jesus died for us, because we could not be righteous in our own merit. He made the way for us to be saved from our sins and for us to be righteous in God’s sight. But part of that way has to do with us leaving our lives of sin behind us and us following him in obedience to his commands, in his power.
His grace, which brings salvation, trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. But he doesn’t just train us, but he equips us, and he empowers us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to him. So, all the glory goes to God for what he accomplishes in and through our lives, as we submit to him, and we walk in his ways.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2]
YOU RAISE ME UP
Brendan Graham / Rolf Lovland
When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary
When troubles come and my heart burdened be…
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be.
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