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Don’t Forget Where You Came From

It’s easy for Christians to forget where they came from. I’m not talking about your neighborhood or city, but the rebellious state you were in before you were in Christ. It’s easy to forget the days of living for the world, and not for Jesus. For believers, once we finally put our past behind us, we tend to never want to look back.

I understand not surrounding yourself with past temptations or circumstances, but I am advocating for us to reflect on the work God has done in our lives. This isn’t only for a person to sit in awe of the cross, but to be thankful for God daily being gracious to you.

This will wholeheartedly affect the way we interact with believers and non-believers.

That Could Have Been Us

All of us have our stories. Some might feel their testimony is not as scandalous as others, but that’s your story. We are all just as broken and depraved as our neighbors and members of our churches. Our problem is we tend to forget we are as much in need of Jesus as a man on death row. Yet, we are quick to judge others as they are dwelling in their sin. We think, “How could they do such a thing?”

Let’s be honest with ourselves; everyone does this. We look at the latest tabloids, and begin to judge the person because we can’t conceive in our minds how someone could stoop to such a level of rebellion. In those moments, we should realize, because of our depravity, we are capable of the same wicked things.

This is why we should always be thankful for the “but God” moments in our lives.
The phrase “But God” is seen throughout scripture. This is Yahweh’s faithfulness to his people despite who they are, and what they do.
In Titus 3:1-7, Paul reminds Titus about the “but God” moments in his life. Paul is prompting Titus and the Church in Crete to gentleness, because despite the state of the Cretans, they were once like them.

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

Paul explains how their lives were once the same as the world. He implies everyone is need of grace and redemption. This is when Paul makes an emphasis on the “but God” moment. Verse 4-7 says:

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Paul shares it is by God’s mercy we have been saved. It is God who saved us from our wickedness, and justified his people through his Son. We have nothing to boast about, because we would be in the same position as an unbeliever, if it were not for God dying on the cross for his heirs.

We didn’t deserve the grace of the cross, but God was rich in his grace. Sometimes we forget how desperate we are for this grace.

You Are Always in Need of Grace

When we realize God’s faithfulness in sparing us from our self-destruction, we see his marvelous grace. This then changes our complex when we share our testimonies with other people. When we talk about our prior bondage, we are quick to reflect on God being rich in his mercy. This will remind us of how thankful we should be for the work of the cross.

Grace always directly applies to our lives. Remember we will never grow out of needing grace. The moment we forget grace is the same moment our actions start to resemble the Pharisees. When we consider “but God”, we have nothing to boast about.

Some Calvinists have a tendency to struggle with grace. I know that sounds crazy because the Doctrine of Grace is the foundation of our beliefs. The beauty of Reformed Theology is we rest in the work of the cross because we are in desperate need of Jesus, and know it.

Unfortunately, we struggle to realize all people are depraved, including the believers we tend to have high standards for. We love grace when we are reflecting on our own hearts, but we fail to apply this theology to the personal relationships around us. We have a tendency to lay the hammer down on others, because we don’t see a personal pursuit of righteousness or a desire for holiness in their lives.

In these moments, we want to throw shade, but we are coming from an arrogant perspective. This is because we forget we need Jesus just as much as the next person. We should always encourage people to pursue holiness, without holding their imperfections over head. We are all inadequate without the finished work of the cross. Let’s not forget that. Grace is glorious because we don’t deserve it, but God is glorified through it.

Rejoice in the Work God Has Done in You and Others

The proper understanding of grace only leads us to rejoice in the work God has done in our lives, and others’ lives. We should be excited about the “but God” moments in the lives of others. Ultimately, this should put us on our knees pleading for others to have this same love for the work of the Cross.

Let us remember to celebrate the work of the cross, and never forget where we came from. We will always need Jesus, so let us rejoice as a people because God chose to do a work in us.

Let us take all of this into consideration when we reflect on the world. Having this mindset will change our perspective of people, because we realize we are all in need of grace.

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