We also have been told that guilt is not real, that depression is always caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and that whatever happens we are not the ones responsible for our actions. Just like Adam and Eve in the Garden, there is always someone else to blame. If it comes down to it we can probably find a doctor who will give us a pill or a mixture of meds that will assuage our concerns.
Why do we refuse to deal with the root problem behind these issues? We treat sin and guilt like a yard full of weeds, but instead of pulling the weeds up by the roots we just mow them all down so that they are at the same level as the grass. For a few days anyway it all looks green and even. But if we do not kill the weeds, they will pop back up. It is only a matter of time.
That, by the way, is why legalism and therapeutic moralism will fail. No matter what we do to manicure the outside of the tomb, there are still dead men’s bones inside. An outward reformation without an inward transformation simply can’t last. It is form without power.
We learn from the Scriptures that when it comes to sin and guilt, we have only ourselves to blame. No matter who treats us badly, no matter how horribly, we have a choice as to how we will respond. Our Creator has created us in His image and has given every one of us a conscience. Rightly informed our conscience points the way to doing what is right. Wrongly informed, our conscience will not warn us about the wrong things or prompt us toward the right things. In fact, it may become so scarred, dulled, and eventually seared to the point that it ceases to function at all.
But even then we have no excuse. Deep down we all know God is there, and we have some understanding of right and wrong. Naturally, left to ourselves, we will repress that knowledge. But refusing to admit the truth does not negate the truth. What is true is true and always will be true.
How can we say that no one has an excuse for sin? The simple truth is that we are all accountable to God for our actions. In our flesh we hate accountability, especially to an all holy, all mighty Lord. Depending on our perspective accountability is humbling or humiliating. No matter how we feel about it and no matter how loudly we at times try to deny it, we are accountable.
Titus 2 tells us that the grace of God has appeared to all men, and not only that, this grace teaches us a few things. It teaches us first that we need to let go of lust. We are to live in such a way that we deny “ungodliness and worldly lusts.” We reject worldly thinking and influences and we turn away from and flee lust, those desires that originate in our fallen flesh and work to lure us away from the truth and away from righteousness.
Secondly grace teaches us to live godly lives. As we have learned from our study in Titus 2 this involves hearing and heeding sound doctrine as is evidenced by the qualities that are produced in our daily lives. Living like this is to live “soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age.” That means we have been taught by grace how to live here and now, without excuses based on how evil the days are, and without anyone else to blame for our decisions and responses.
Thirdly grace teaches us to look for our Glorious Lord! When we struggle and are under pressure from the world, the flesh, and the devil, we have hope and a reason to press on. We are able to fight the good fight and persevere because we have not been abandoned here. The return of Christ is described as something we should be looking for, as if to describe a constant scanning of the horizon hoping for His appearing. This is a blessed hope, it will be a glorious appearing, and in case there is any doubt, grace affirms that Jesus is our Great God and Savior.
Grace teaches us these things and leaves us without excuse. Deep down, dealing with the root instead of the weed, we learn from grace that in Christ we do have a Savior who forgives us, fills us with His Spirit, and gives us everything we need to live soberly, righteously, and godly right where we are today.
When it comes to temptation, lust, worldliness, and ungodly living, the plain truth is that because of the grace of God, we know better. So how do we put what we know into practice?
To learn more about this amazing grace of God that has appeared to all men, join us this Sunday, June 26, at 10:30 AM as we gather to worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The message this week from Titus 2:11-15 is titled “Qualities of Saving Grace”.