Living in the Present

We are instructed to live godly, righteously, sensibly in the present age.  How?  (And, should we?). This continues our discussion of Titus 2:11-15.

We live in the present by looking forward, to Christ’s appearing and the glory that will be revealed. (Read here for the beginning of this discussion.) We have seen His glory, Christ came to reveal God’s glory (John 1-2), and we know that our present circumstances are nothing compared to the weight of glory prepared for us (2 Cor 4, Romans 8).  

But also, by looking back and remembering that Christ is our Passover (the sacrifice, He gave Himself), and our Redeemer–having redeemed us from greater oppression that Israel knew in Egypt.  He has given Himself for us, the greatest sacrifice.  He fulfilled the law for us lawless creatures.   

Did He have a purpose?  

…and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession  (see also 1 Peter 2:9f)

Apart from Christ, we are impure. We need His work, He is the Refiners Fire.  We were dead in our sins, He redeemed us, and cleansed us. It is His work to wash away (and sometimes cut away) all impurities.  His Spirit continues this work (sanctification) in us until we are at home.  Deuteronomy 14, treasured possession; LXX chosen people. 

Also, spend some time in the end of psalm 19, which praises God’s Word, begs for His work, and declares “then I shall be blameless, and acquitted of great transgression.”  Purity, pure, purification. These are words that God loves, and uses. May we rightly understand them, and grow to love them too!

Purity, from Calvin book III, Chapter XX, 10, pg 862

“Indeed, what the blind man whose sight was restored says in John’s gospel–that God does not listen to sinners [John 9:31] has been drawn from the very truth of God, provided we understand ‘sinners’ in the customary usage of Scripture, as all persons who slumber and repose in their own sins without any desire for righteousness.  For no heart can ever break into sincere calling upon God that does not at the same time aspire to godliness.  To such promises, then, correspond the saints’ attestations in which they mention their purity or innocence in order that they may feel, what all God’s servants should hope for, made manifest to themselves.  [see 1 John 3:22; Psalm 86:2; 2 Kings 20:3]

…zealous for good deeds (See Ephesians 3 and Romans 10:2). 

Zealous, enthusiastic, not fanatic. (Stott, 196)  The grounds of the Christian’s present behavior is looking to Christ–as He was, as He is, and as He is to come!  We live, and act, out of knowing He has designed us for this, remade us for this, gifted us for this, and is at work in us for this.  

These good deeds include all our quotidian affairs–our daily chores, our drive to work, our meals, our casual conversations, our most intimate relationships–these can and must be done to the glory of God! These good deeds also include using our spiritual gifts in our local Body, loving our neighbors, serving in the community, vocations, etc.

“The emphasis is on necessity, not the mere possibility, of good works.” Stott, 194.

15  These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority.  Let no one disregard you.  

Titus is instructed to speak, exhort, reprove. Our pastors and elders and teachers need to heed this call. We are called to listen. Let us not disregard the message hear–we too must hear and consent to its goodness.  We must submit to elders who follow in this mindset.  Let no man become an elder if he will not be faithful to the Word. Let us not take lightly the need to have godly, Word-saturated elders in our local church.

And as we encourage one another in the faith, “these things” should not be far from us.  As we (link here to Deuteronomy study) are a people who talk about these things whether we are seated, walking, at home, along the way–especially as women who have the word of hesed and truth on our lips!  Let us teach and admonish such things as these!  

Lamentations 2:14-15a  helps us understand what happens when our pastors and elders and teachers do not speak or exhort these things:

Your prophets have seen for you false visions; and they have not exposed your iniquity so as to restore you from captivity, but they have seen for you false and misleading oracles.  All who pass along the way clapp their hands in derision at you; they hiss and shake their heads…

When we do not surround ourselves with sound doctrine, adorn it, live out of it in our homes and relationships and community fellowship, we malign the Word, and the world will hiss.  (see John 17)  

We assure our hearts before Him as we live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present. (Isaiah 50:10)  I leave you with a bit of the Confession to ponder. Yes we should live this way in the present! Persevere, brethren!

Confession of faith, Chapter XX, paragraph III:  And therefore it is the duty of everyone to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure; that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance…”

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