“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.” (Titus 3:3 ESV)
“Some years ago, I heard someone say that we should preach the gospel to ourselves every day. Though I had already been doing that to some degree, the statement brought clarity and focus to my own practice, so I began using it in my ministry to others.” – Jerry Bridges, The Gospel for Real Life.
Believers in Christ should be thankful each day for God’s salvation to us from the penalty, power and eventual presence of our sin. Realizing that this deliverance from sin is by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone should make our gratitude even greater.
Often, we focus our attention on what the LORD has saved us for (Eph. 2:10). However, we must always remember what God has delivered us from. Today’s text from Titus has this as its focus.
The Apostle Paul explains that we ourselves were once foolish. He includes himself in this spiritual diagnosis. To be foolish (ἀνόητος; anoētos) refers to a lack of good sense or senselessness regarding the things of God (Gal. 1:3; 3:3; I Timothy 6:9).
I Corinthians 2:14 says, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
This condition of foolishness results in disobedience to God. To be disobedient (ἀπειθής; apeithēs) means to not trust in, commit to, depend upon and worship Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. This results in a lifestyle that is rebellious against God.
To be led astray (πλανάω; planaō) is a present passive participle meaning to be deceived and to wander from the ways of God.
To be a slave to various passions (δουλεύω; douleuō/ ἐπιθυμία; epithymia) means to presently and actively serve one’s lusts or desires. These are passions that bring willing enslavement (I John 2:15-17; Gal. 6:16-21). Pleasures (ἡδονή; hēdonē) refers to sensuous habits. The English word hedonism comes from this Greek word.
“It is not that every believer has committed every sin listed here, but rather that before salvation every life is characterized by such sins. That sobering truth should make believers humble in dealing with the unsaved, even those who are grossly immoral and ungodly. If it weren’t for God’s grace to his own, they would all be wicked (1 Pet. 3:15; cf. 2 Tim. 2:25; See Rom. 1:18–32; 1 Cor. 6:9–10; Gal. 5:19–21; Eph. 4:17–19),” states Dr. John MacArthur.
Consider the particular sins of which the Lord has delivered, and is delivering, you. Pray that your behavior will display His delivering power. Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!