3 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. 3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. 9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.
This passage starts out with a “dos” and “don’ts” list with respect to Christian behaviour. Paul reminds us what a Christian is supposed 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 Ps. Ainslie Woods