4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit – Titus 3: 4-5 NIV
It is because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, that God has given us His Holy Spirit to abide in us. The Holy Spirit’s role is to teach us and guide us “into all truth”. He is also the earnest that seals us so that we can be assured of everlasting life with Jesus. Therefore, because of that, we can be secure in our salvation. Knowing this, we can focus on leading a Holy lifestyle and setting an example for others to follow. We need to stay away from foolish and frivolous arguments. This is not a call to separate ourselves from sinners. We need to associate with them (being careful not to fall into temptations ourselves) and build bridges with them so we can witness to them. We must embrace the value of every human, though, sometimes we will not be able to embrace their values. Seize every opportunity to witness to the unbelievers.
3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,. — Titus 3:3-5a NIV
We are often reminded of the things we did in the past. The thing that causes us to remember can be a single word, a song, a picture, a place, a taste, or a chance meeting with someone we used to know. Even though there is no situation that can ever be duplicated exactly as we remember it, the memories sometimes cause a great longing in us for “the good ole days”. But, as Christians, we need to be very selective in the memories we hold onto. Very few memories are neutral, they remind us of good times or bad times. They also remind us of the evil that was in us before we accepted Jesus as our Savior and hopefully, as our Lord. If we can use our memories and experiences to glorify God, that is a wonderful thing. But we should be careful that when rehearsing our memories that they don’t give more glory to a sinful way of life than they do to the one who gave His life that we might have a glorious future with Him.
38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. — Luke 8:38, 39 NIV
4 So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God. 5 When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. 6 But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit. Romans 7:4-6 (NLT)
Before we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, we were in bondage to our fleshly desires. After we accepted Jesus we wanted to do better but we were unable to do so in and of ourselves. Our physical and mental addictions had a real stronghold on us. Self-help courses helped us to stop doing some of those things temporarily but the effects were not permanent. The end was worse than when we first started. God tells us in Isaiah 50:11 (NLT)
11 But watch out, you who live in your own light
and warm yourselves by your own fires.
This is the reward you will receive from me:
You will soon fall down in great torment.
What this means is that we can’t change our bad habits. We have to allow God to do it through us. We are not sinners one moment and perfect the next. Accepting Jesus is not some magic incantation that removes all of our bad habits immediately. Though satan would like us to think that, so he can condemn us when we fail. We are to strive toward perfection knowing that we won’t reach it here on earth. Our new life with Christ is a journey. It is not a quick sprint, it is a life-long marathon. Just like a physical marathon, it takes discipline and daily training. Spend time each day meditating and conversing with God and you will find that when we allow Him to change us, the results are permanent and bring us great peace and joy. Once you have prayed, meditated and talked with God, be sure to give Him the praise He so richly deserves.