January 18, 2024 Devotional

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. —Titus 1:15

When I was young (and even still today, sometimes), I needed guidance and correction to learn how to behave, to talk to others, or to learn subjects in school, and, most importantly, what it means to follow Jesus. I had really good parents and teachers, mentors, and friends who had a hand in shaping and molding me along the way. For them and their grace and love, I’m thankful. I also know that the Holy Spirit is always at work to guide and direct us in all wisdom that comes from God.

Our verse for today is included in a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to Titus, one of Paul’s proteges in the faith, who was in Crete helping small churches with
leadership and instruction. Titus was doing a great job, but also had some opposition, which was causing some trouble. Paul’s encouragement to Titus was to keep finding leaders with pure motives and characteristics. Paul’s caution to Titus was that there will always be those who are not leading with integrity and with an eye on Jesus and the gospel. That made Titus’ mission more difficult, but he wasn’t surprised by any of it.

In our verse for today, Paul made it plain to Titus that opposition would come from those who did not believe that Jesus and faith in Jesus would begin a process of justification, regeneration, and sanctification. Those who oppose the work of the gospel needed to be rebuked (said Paul), with the very real hope that they would turn from their rebellious ways and start on the path of sanctification.

John Wesley had a way of expressing this process with the analogy of a house. When you are on the porch of the house, you are being invited to repent and believe (justification). When in the doorway, you are invited to accept the new life offered in Jesus (regeneration). When you enter the house, you then are invited to live life like Jesus, living by God’s rules (sanctification). Those who are pure, according to Paul, are those who are moving from the porch, through the doorway, into the house to be changed into the image of Jesus.

The really Good News is that everyone is invited to learn, grow, and understand that God loves them and wants them to be purified by the work of the Holy Spirit in the process of salvation. Even those who oppose the gospel and every effort you make to share your faith are still invited to begin that process of repentance, belief, justification, regeneration, and sanctification. Our work is to be encouragers, teachers, and rebukers (if needed), doing all we do in love and grace as we seek Jesus and are found by Him.