Titus 1:1

Titus 1:1…”Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness.” Sharpening other believers with the truth should be our goal as well. What is the truth that leads to godliness? That we have been rescued by the Father, through the Son’s atoning sacrifice, by the Holy Spirit being placed in us supernaturally. We were spiritually dead, and needed rescued. It’s not that we were floating helplessly, and God threw out a rope, and faith is the hand that grabbed the rope and we were rescued. No, that analogy implies that we had some capacity to save ourselves, which is false. We were dead at the bottom of the ocean, and Jesus dove down and brought us back up and breathed life into us without our doing anything to save ourselves. If we’ve responded with faith and repentance to the gospel, it had nothing to do with our choosing God, and everything to do with God choosing to elect us, out of His abundant grace and mercy. This is the truth that leads to godliness, and any other version of the “truth” does not come from scripture.

Ephesians 2:1-8

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

Acts 7:51

Acts 7:51…”You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!” Stephen uses the example of the hard-heartedness of the Israelites to show the Sanhedrin their own sin. It’s easy to read this passage and to quickly gloss over applying it to our own hearts. However, we all are stiff-necked, rebellious, and resistant to the Holy Spirit. All of us are in need of Christ’s perfect righteousness. Our hearts and ears need to be softened and humbled increasingly. Therefore, we should pray for a better understanding of our smallness and God’s bigness.

Acts 7:39

Acts 7:39…”But our ancestors refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.” In Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin, he clearly lays out the gospel. Any true presentation of God’s plan of salvation (i.e. the gospel), must include a description of the great chasm which exists between God and man. This is far more massive than we can understand in our finite human minds. God is perfectly holy, and we are not, which has been the case since the fall of man. In fact, it’s much worse than we realize according to Romans 3:10-18:

“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless, there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

This is important for us to grasp, because if we don’t get this piece, then we won’t rightly esteem Jesus. We are in desperate need of a perfectly holy Savior. Without His perfect righteousness imputed to us, we’re spiritually dead, and not just in this life. This is the best news in the world, if we believe (and produce fruit in keeping with repentance – Luke 3:8). However, if we don’t believe, eternal spiritual death does not end, and God’s wrath is not passive. According to Jesus, Hell is real (Matthew 8:12):

“But the subjects of the kingdom (of darkness) will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Today is the day to repent and believe in Christ, because we don’t know that we’ll have tomorrow.

Psalm 46:1

Psalm 46:1…”God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” This psalm encourages hope and trust in God. Hope in his power and providence, and his gracious presence with his church in the worst of times. We can apply it to spiritual enemies, and the encouragement we have that, through Christ, we will be conquerors over them. He is a present Help, and a Help always found when we seek Him. We cannot desire a better Help, nor will we ever find one in idols or persons.