Daily Devotion by Dave Coaker 16th July

Titus 3: 3 – 5

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, despicable, hating one another.  But when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Saviour appeared,  he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

Reflection

When I read through this reading I can’t help but hear an echo of Luke’s telling of Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the tax-collector. (Luke 18: 9-14) The Pharisee taking centre-stage and, in a not so quiet voice, declaring ‘God, I thank you that I am righteousness and not foolish, disobedient, led astray, a slave to various passions and pleasures, prone to passing my days in malice and envy, being despicable, or hating others like those people.’ And then in a quiet dimly lit corner, facing the wall, the tax-collector mumbling ‘God, I give thanks for your loving-kindness and mercy, your free gift of rebirth and renewal, and the example of Christ to follow even though I keep stumbling along the way.’

The writer of this letter isn’t using this list in this way though. They are encouraging positive behaviour, not the humiliation of others. The writer is acknowledging that both they, and the recipients of the letter, had previously led very imperfect lives but that now, through no action of theirs and completely reliant on the grace of God, they are now saved from such lives.

They may well be saved, but you don’t bother writing a letter in the ancient world if everything is rosy. Probably the writer has heard that people within the community that Titus gathers together are behaving in such ways, or like the Pharisee in the parable. The letter is sent to encourage them that God is good, loving and merciful, and the opportunity to change is present within every moment. God has saved them and them being prudent, obedient, faithful, self-controlled, kind, generous, admirable, and loving is not a condition of that liberation but a loving response to it.

 

Prayer

Living God,
you place reminders
of your goodness
before us
if we but look to see them.

Through the example of Jesus,
our fellow travellers on his Way,
and the actions of your Spirit in the world,
you encourage us to lead faithful
and loving lives.

Yet we still stumble
and need to be reminded of your goodness before we turn in on ourselves,
forgetting your invitation to renewal.

May Your  goodness, mercy and love
be present this day. Amen

Today’s Writer

The Rev’d David Coaker is minister of Grays URC

Bible Version

 

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.

If today’s Daily Devotion is not showing on your church’s website, this will have affected all church websites using this feed in the same way. Our volunteer technical team are probably aware of the issue and will be working to fix it as soon as they are able.
Thank you.