For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. Titus 2:11-14 (NLT)
Philip Jensen (the preacher I was listening to) spoke about Jesus giving his life for 2 purposes.
- To redeem us from lawlessness
- To purify us as his people, who are zealous for good works
Philip talked about being zealous, being 'unbalanced' in our commitment to good deeds. I am a fan of balance, generally. Everything in moderation (?even moderation). But Paul is telling us our purpose is to be unbalanced, to be immoderate, to be zealous for doing good. It's a reminder to me that the world's wisdom about balance and moderation is not always right. This Easter I would like to think more about Jesus' total commitment to me, the extent he went to redeem and purify me. I hope I can start to live in a more 'totally commited to good deeds' way. To truly hold together total commitment to good deeds and a grace-filled existence without either being watered down.
I've also been reading this book by John Piper (gradually). I have to admit that for lots of it, I've read it to get through the book. Not that I don't believe it but it has not deeply inspired me. That was until I read #36 the other day.
Jesus came to die ... to create a band of crucified followers.
"The Calvary road is where everyone meets Jesus." Jesus died to invite us on the journey to the cross with him. In Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23 and Matthew 10:38 Jesus invites me to take up my cross and follow him. He invites you, me, and every believer to heft the burden he carries and walk in his footsteps to our death.
The paradox of this invitation is that when we follow Jesus in this journey to death, we find real life. Our lost, world-loving, me-worshipping, deluded self dies.
If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
In giving up our life to follow Jesus, we find purpose (in being totally commited to good deeds), companionship (we join Jesus and the band of crucified followers), empowerment (we have God's spirit living in us) and a home (being prepared for us with our Father in heaven).
I hope Easter refreshes our joy in following Jesus as we see his love for us.
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