Titus 3:3: “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.”

April 18th, 2019 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Paul reminds us not to be too critical of our pagan neighbors, remembering what we were before God saved us. We forget quickly that we were just as foolish and rebellious enemies of God as those who are around us now. Paul says, “we were foolish,” literally a senseless person, “not having a mind.” We were also, “disobedient,” willfully disregarding authority, refusing to be persuaded, no matter what logic or God said. We were “deceived,” being prone to wander, blindly thinking we were good enough to keep God happy. And we were “serving (enslaved to) various lusts and pleasures,” thoroughly deceived into thinking we were free and had great liberty.

As German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in Cost Of Discipleship, “The demand for absolute liberty brings men to the depths of slavery.” Jesus said, “whoever commits sin is a slave of sin . . . [but] if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:34,36). Jesus is saying that if we want to be free, we must put ourselves in bondage to Him. Phillips Brooks said it this way, “No man in this world attains to freedom from any slavery except by entrance into some higher servitude. There is no such thing as an entirely free man conceivable.” Even atheist Thomas Huxley remarked, “A man’s worst difficulties begin when he is able to do as he likes.” We will be slaves to something. We must choose whether it will be to sin or to Jesus.

Perhaps we should all pray the prayer the Chaplain of the Senate, Peter Marshall, prayed before the US Congress many years ago:

Lord Jesus, thou who art the way, the truth, and the life; hear us as we pray for the truth that shall make all free. Teach us that liberty is not only to be loved but also to be lived. Liberty is too precious a thing to be buried in books. It costs too much to be hoarded. Help us see that our liberty is not the right to do as we please, but the opportunity to please to do what is right.

“LORD, make that true in us this day we ask in Jesus’ name.”