3 Remind God’s people to obey rulers and authorities. Remind them to be ready to do what is good. 2 Tell them not to speak evil things against anyone. Remind them to live in peace. They must consider the needs of others. They must always be gentle toward everyone. 3 At one time we too acted like fools. We didn’t obey God. We were tricked. We were controlled by all kinds of desires and pleasures. We were full of evil. We wanted what belongs to others. People hated us, and we hated one another. 4 But the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared. 5 He saved us. It wasn’t because of the good things we had done. It was because of his mercy. He saved us by washing away our sins. We were born again. The Holy Spirit gave us new life. 6 God poured out the Spirit on us freely. That’s because of what Jesus Christ our Savior has done. 7 His grace made us right with God. So now we have received the hope of eternal life as God’s children. 8 You can trust this saying. These things are important. Treat them that way. Then those who trust in God will be careful to commit themselves to doing good. These things are excellent. They are for the good of everyone. 9 But keep away from foolish disagreements. Don’t argue about family histories. Don’t make trouble. Don’t fight about what the law teaches. Don’t argue about things like that. It doesn’t do any good. It doesn’t help anyone. 10 Warn anyone who tries to get believers to separate from one another. Warn that person more than once. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You can be sure that people like this are twisted and sinful. Their own actions judge them.
This passage starts out with a “dos” and “don’ts” list with respect to Christian behaviour. Paul reminds us what a Christian is suppose to look like. Paul then goes onto explain why Christians behave differently. We are reminded of God’s mercy and grace and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Our sins have been forgiven and we have eternal life because of what Jesus has done. We don’t behave differently because of our own righteousness.
Three words jumped out at me when I read this passage. Remind, insist and devote. They are all verbs – doing words. “Remind” tells me that these teachings can be forgotten, not understood or not practised. “Insist” tells me that it’s important and not an optional extra. Finally “devote” suggests some application and effort on my part.
Dear God, Thank you for the reminder the Apostle Paul has given us in this passage of Scripture. Help us be devoted in doing good, day in and day out. Amen.
Written by Ainslie Woods