Thoughts based on Titus 1
It seems to reason that the greater the sinner you are, the more you will come to appreciate God’s grace, but in reality it doesn’t work out that way…at least not consistently. If you have really blown it…I mean you really blew it, morally ethically and spiritually speaking…then you come to grips with the horror of your sin…you realize your shame and guilt…and then in that moment of desperation, as you turn to God, you receive grace and forgiveness because of Christ…there is nothing more powerful.
However, if you are consistently and persistently living a morally compromised life…if you habitually lie and manipulate people for personal gain, if you consistently engage in evil practices, and never do anything to combat the flesh but always do things to gratify your desires, God’s grace will mean less and less to you every day. You will start out confessing your sins and “repenting,” but eventually you will grow tired of the routine. You will think to yourself “Do I really have to go through all that trouble? I don’t see the point.” Then you will start thinking it’s ok to sin because God will forgive you anyway. This will not only make it easier and easier to sin, it will eventually change the way you look at sin. You will start believing that there’s nothing wrong with your behavior…there’s nothing wrong with you. You will become defensive and angry at anyone who hints at your need to change, and the only thing that will change is your concept of God. He will start looking less and less like Jesus and more and more like you. Great sin does not necessarily make one more appreciative of God’s grace, great sin can actually lead one to reject God’s grace. Because “to the pure all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; both their minds and consciences are defiled.” (Titus 1:15)
This is why Paul is writing this letter to Titus. To remind him that his goal as a minister was more than confessions of faith, but transformation of lives. He was not promoting religious moralism (ethical, moral people who base their righteousness on their good works), but because the Cretans were coming from such a morally compromised starting point, moral transformation was critical to both their continued growth in the gospel of Christ and creating a healthy culture for the church.
So what does that mean for us? It just means that we have to remember that staying away from evil practices (sin) is very important. Not that we need to beat ourselves up in our struggles with sin…just that no matter how long or how hard our struggle is, we never make excuses for it, and stay committed to fight against it with faith.