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July 16, 2013

THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 16 JULY 2013

Titus 3:3-8 teaches that it is always beneficial to be reminded of who we were prior to receiving eternal salvation (by grace through faith in Jesus Christ); it is advantageous because it helps us to obey the command of Titus 3:2 to demonstrate humility, because we remember that the sovereign grace of God was necessary to reverse our former manner of life (Titus 3:4-7). Every time a feeling of arrogance overtakes you or me, remember the words of Titus 3:3 (“For we also once were foolish ourselves”). If you are ever inclined to protest against the assertion of Titus 3:3 by saying, “I was not that bad,” remember that only God’s grace prevented your being that bad and that the potential for it was always within you (cf. Jer 17:9; Rom 3).

As believers, God’s grace accomplished a fundamental change in us “by the washing of regeneration [the new birth] and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). Regeneration is the “new birth” that Jesus said was necessary to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3). What regeneration essentially means is that the Holy Spirit has imparted new life and a fundamentally new disposition to our nature, one that desires to please God. The sinful disposition that remains in our nature as believers often tends to obscure this more fundamental disposition toward obedience, but it is there, nevertheless, and eventually characterizes our life as Christians in spite of remaining sinful inclinations. When you are born of the Spirit, then a regenerated, supernatural life enters into you. There is a new allegiance, new inclinations, and new loves because a new person is born.

The truth of this newness of life is also expressed in 2 Corinthians 2:14-15; the natural man/woman does not welcome the gifts of the Holy Spirit because they are foolish to him/her. Consequently, that which is born of the flesh is a natural man/woman with no spiritual inclinations or receptiveness to the things of God, but that which is born of the Spirit is a spiritual man/woman with spiritual inclinations and receptiveness to love the things of God. Scripture is explicit that a regenerated individual is to “be careful to engage in good deeds” (Titus 3:8). If there is a lack of such doing of good, we may reasonably question whether regeneration has occurred, because regeneration creates a new disposition within the true believer.

Having been saved by God’s grace through Jesus’ substitutionary work upon Calvary’s cross, we are saved to do good deeds, which are the consequence (i.e. the result) of God’s transforming grace, and thus cause us to delight in God’s desires. We all, by God’s grace, face the challenge of bearing a faithful, truthful, loving witness in our lives and in our words. How will we do it? We do so by means of the new birth, and then by continuing to hear and heed God’s Word, which is both “good and profitable” (Titus 3:8) because Scripture reveals the divine provisions available to us. God's divine commands are always satisfied by his divine provisions. May God bless his word in us, as we live by his grace and for his glory.

Yours in Christ Jesus,

Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Georgia State Minister, Capitol Commission
ron.bigalke@capitolcom.org
www.capitolcom.org

P.S. Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.