For we ourselves were once foolish,
slaves to various passions and pleasures,
passing our days in malice and envy,
hated by others
and hating one another.
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,
he saved us,
not because of works done by us in righteousness,
but according to his own mercy,
by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
so that being justified by his grace
we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
This weekend I’ve been at Joe Wheeler State Park with a group of ladies from our church on a retreat. (For more photos, see the Lodge on the website and you’ll see more of where we stayed.) The setting is stunning if you like nature. As we entered, we were greeted by about 12 deer…mammas and babies, eating grass near our lodge!
As we look out our window, we see ducks of all types, swimming, fish jumping, and birds flying high in the sky. Today, Sunday, the lake looks like glass! The sun is shining and it is crystal clear and beautiful!
The topic of the weekend has been on the refreshment, strengthening, and stabilizing of the gospel for us during our Christian lives! When we’re on a retreat, those are all words we want to hear…and are ready for!
So often, we look back to the gospel as an event that took place, years ago. But the gospel is for now. It is much more daily.
- For us to revel in.
- For us to be strengthened by as we live our lives.
- For us to be refreshed by as we often find ourselves weakened by struggles against sin, working with people, or whatever tends to weaken us…sometimes even the difficulties of certain life chapters just wear us out!
We forget how needy we are. We try to do it all alone. We forget how many resources we have to help us. Most of all, we forget the resources we have in Christ and in the gospel…and how vast they are! Just looking for the gospel in hidden and forgotten places was helpful.
The speaker only spoke twice. We had lots of free time to pause & reflect…or walk around & enjoy nature.
We had enough free time during the weekend that we were able to take time to be alone and think and process. There were woods to walk in. It wasn’t too rainy most of the time we were actually there, but the sun didn’t actually come out until the day we left. The state park was beautiful. It was a lovely place to sit and enjoy nature…or walk and enjoy it! My foot, along with the stabilizer cooperated with me and I was able to take one walk.
There were people to visit with…or not. There was one exercise class for those who wanted it. An art class for others who enjoyed that. Otherwise, the speaker talked twice…each evening after supper. I enjoyed getting to know different women this weekend. In a church the size of ours, a weekend of about 50-60 ladies helps you cross paths with a different sub-set of women. Of course, I loved being able to sit in my room at my computer and look out the glass windows at the lake, hills and sky for an hour or so too. It was beautiful! Sunday morning’s prayer time was special too as we divided into small groups and prayed…sometimes silently, sometimes aloud.
This passage in Titus was one that describes life before the gospel and after Christ has arrived into our lives with His forgiveness and His work of restoration! But there are many throughout the Bible…even in the Old Testament! So as you read the Bible, open your eyes and look. Be refreshed, strengthened and enriched by the gospel as you read GOD’s Word.
What is the Gospel?
He came to undeserving people who didn’t seek after Him, because He loved them. Some received the gift of grace, forgiveness, redemption, offered to them. It had nothing to do with their goodness, worthiness, accomplishments, or anything about them. It was purely GOD’s mercy and grace to them.
He took our sin upon Himself on the cross and paid for it to satisfy the legal demands justice required. He exchanged His record of living a perfect life while living on earth as a human, for our sinful records. Now we have that perfect record on our account with the Father. We now stand righteous before the Father based on the perfect life Jesus lived, as well as his death that paid for our sin with blood, the only atonement for sin.
Now, we are legally righteous before GOD but need to live out the gospel as we learn what it means to be victorious over the sin that still lives in us. The victory over sin is won on paper. It is finished and completed. Nothing we do will never make it better or worse. We are able to say, “No.” to sin now when we couldn’t before. Before Christ, we couldn’t “not sin.”
Satan knows his defeat is already sealed. But he is going to cause as much turmoil as he can until Christ returns when we will all be changed! When the gospel will come to full fruition and we will be glorified and our bodies will be complete and perfect!
Who is GOD? How strong is He?
But who is the more powerful One? Who is on the throne? It is still the One Supreme and Righteous GOD, Three in One. The One who loved us from eternity past. The One who planned our salvation from before Creation. The One who redeemed us. He has won the battle over sin. He will win the final battle! He will accomplish all He plans to accomplish in each of us! Then His final Kingdom will come on earth.
Even so, come Lord Jesus!