READING: Titus 1-3, Philemon 1
The transforming power of the gospel changes us on the inside, but that internal change must be evidenced in our external actions as well. Paul explained these truths this way in his letter to Titus: some people claim to “know God, but by their actions they deny him” (Titus 1:16). Their “minds and consciences” remain corrupted, “disobedient and unfit for anything good” (Titus 1:15-16), even though they assert that they follow Jesus. The hypocrisy of their heart is apparent in their lifestyle choices.
On the other hand, the gospel so transforms believers that others recognize the difference. We are to live lives “worthy of respect” (Titus 2:2), faithful to such an extent that “no one will malign the word of God” (Titus 2:5). We’re to model faith by walking with God in seriousness and integrity “so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2:7-8). Using the first-century illustration of masters and slaves (without condoning slavery), Paul told believing slaves to be trustworthy “so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive” (Titus 2:10). That gospel would be especially attention-grabbing when someone like Philemon received Onesimus, his runaway, but returning, repentant Christian slave not as a servant but now as “a brother in the Lord” (Philemon 1:16).
Indeed, Paul calls believers recurrently to show how the gospel changes us. We are to love what is good, eagerly do what is good, always stand ready to do good, and devote ourselves to doing what is good (Titus 1:8; 2:7, 14; 3:1, 8). All these things, Paul says, “are excellent and profitable for everyone” (Titus 3:8). When you and I follow Christ with all our heart, we extend faith, hope, and love that the world doesn’t know. We bring light to the darkness, healing to the wounded, and life to the dying. Nothing stays the same when the gospel enters the story.
- Choose wisely today so that others would have nothing bad to say about you.
- If a brother or sister repents before you today, receive that family member warmly.
PRAYER: “God, may my life today make the gospel attractive to others.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Hebrews 1-6