Today’s post is part of a series to help us take what we learn on Sunday into the rest of the week. These posts summarize the main points from the week’s sermon and include questions for continued reflection and prayer. The posts in this series are written by members of our church’s Adult Christian Formation team. This past Sunday, our service theme was “God’s Grace Changes Us.” Pastor Bobby preached from Titus 2:11-14 and 3:3-8 about how “The Gospel Works.” As William Wilberforce pointed out in his book “A Practical View of Christianity,” the gospel effects changes in our lives. It motivates us to act as Christians. This motivation relies on the fact that the impact of the gospel of God’s grace is deep and wide. Different people react differently to different situations. We are motivated by different things as we choose to do right or wrong. But no matter what our personality is, God’s grace goes deep and changes our hearts. We not only repent of our sin but of the deep motivation behind why we sinned. God’s grace also has wide implications for how we live. It should affect more than just our private lives, changing all of life. Paul also points out that grace beautifies the church community. The people where Titus lived, on the island of Crete, were known for their lack of self-control. So Paul repeatedly tells them to develop self-control. By having that virtue, they would be distinct from others around them. That kind of change flows from belief in God’s grace. The gospel informs life, and doctrine changes how we act. This can be seen in the impact of justification by grace through faith, a doctrine that changes our view of our worthiness before God. If we rely only on the work of Christ to justify us, we will have a realistic assessment of our own status that keeps us humble without being crushed by our imperfections. Questions for prayer and reflection:
- What is one of your core motivations? Ask, for instance, why would you lie about something? Or what would upset you more than most other things would?
- How might your deepest motivation need to be challenged by God’s grace revealed in Jesus? Pray that God will change your heart and make the grace described in the gospel your main motivation in life.
- How might the implications of God’s grace go beyond your private life into your interactions with other people?
- How has the gospel beautified the life of someone you know?
- Would it change your view of yourself if you more fully understood that Jesus justifies you through his own righteousness and not any righteousness of your own?