One of the greatest personal blessings COVID-19 has brought into my life is a renewed acquaintance with the Apostle Paul. I owe this man a tremendous debt of gratitude! I am continually surprised, convicted, encouraged, etc., by the way he thinks about the Christian life. The two most prominent realities in his mind, the two things that mold and animate his theology of life in this world are:
         1) The grace of God the Father through Jesus Christ
         2) The hope of eternal life with Him
I’ve been soaking in Paul’s short letter to Titus this week. Here’s how he begins:
“Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.” (Titus 1:1–2)
And then there’s this:
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…” (Titus 2:11–13)
And this:
“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.”  (Titus 3:4–7)
My mind is usually so preoccupied and fixated on this world (my present circumstances, desires, feelings, problems, etc.,) that the incredible gospel realities of God’s grace to me in Jesus and my eternal glory when He appears gets completely blocked out. Such self-chosen blindness strikes me as the devastating combination of stupidity and tragedy. I sense that nothing would transform my inner being and my outer behavior as much as a constant conception of and confidence in these two things: the present riches of God’s grace to me in Jesus and the “hope of eternal life which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.” 

I think it might do the same for you. In the practical (but passing) realities of our present life, let’s live in the promised (and eternal) reality of what is yet to come. Let’s practice seeing what is unseen (2 Cor 4:18) and savoring the glorious, free, full grace that shall bring us safely there! Amen?

Pastor Dale

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