"Jesus Christ...gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works." (From Titus 2:13b, 14)
In June of 1969 I was a part of a Billy Graham School of Evangelism, held during the Billy Graham Crusade in Madison Square Garden, New York. As a seminary student and pastor, all of my expenses were paid by the Graham Association. Since we were not "local," each night after the crusade we were left pretty much on our own to go to the various "stations" and participate. I chose to go outside the arena and talk to people on the street. One night I ran into what someone once called a "turtleneck fundy" trying to "witness" to a drunk man; the drunk was claiming to be a Christian. The self righteous, Bible toting was saying something like, "How could you possibly be a Christian; look at yourself." Those exact thoughts came to me of this "pharisee." After the accuser left, the drunk man's eyes met mine. I said, "Gave you a rough time, eh?" I listened to his story, in some ways not very much different from yours or mine.
Our text says that "Jesus Christ...gave Himself for us," to, "purify for Himself," not to purify for myself. He did not purify me so that I could take off on my own, sins forgiven, feeling better about myself, all the while feeling disgusted at those who are not as "pure" as I. Jesus spilled His Blood, died on a Roman cross for you and me so that we would be, "His own special people." He did not die for you and me to go around touting our specialness. Yes, we are special, but it is only because, "Jesus...gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us...for Himself."
The Jews too would have done well over the centuries to realize that, "chosen," did not mean "better than." If we ever loose sight of the reality that we were lawless, full of lawlessness and, "every lawless deed," we will walk as the "turtleneck fundy." If we walk, however, as one for whom, "Jesus Christ...gave Himself.., that He might redeem us...for Himself," we will walk, not as our own special people, but, "His own special people."
Father, in Jesus' Name, I confess that apart from You, there is absolutely nothing in me
to justify specialness, but I thank You that surrendered to You there is. Amen.
Read of the "May Day Terror Threat": www.jerberwash.blogspot.com
Unreached People Group: www.apfunreachedpeoples.blogspot.com
When Peter, an 18 year old Norwegian, "heard the call to evangelize China, on that day he not only emptied his wallet into the collection plate, but included a small note with the words, 'and my life.'"
"Looking unto Jesus"
"Looking unto Jesus"