June 6: Being Made New
2 Chronicles 14:1–16:14; Titus 3:1–7; Psalm 97:1–98:9
We often fall into old habits that reflect the way we once were. Although we’ve been made new, we haven’t been made perfect, and sometimes it shows. People within our church communities might have one perception of us, but others may have experienced another side—one that can make us feel shameful about our witness (or lack thereof).
While Paul spoke to Titus about relationships within the Cretan community, he also emphasized that believers needed to think about how their actions affected those outside the community. They needed to obey authority (Titus 3:1) and show perfect courtesy to all people (Titus 3:3). Although the Cretans had been told this before, Paul wanted Titus to remind them. He would later offer another reminder as well (Titus 3:14).
We might be tempted to cultivate the impression that we’re better than we really are. But we have a responsibility to interact with all people in a way that reflects Christ. Paul tells us why: “For we also were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, enslaved to various desires and pleasures, spending our lives in wickedness and envy, despicable, hating one another. But when the kindness and love for mankind of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not by deeds of righteousness that we have done, but because of his mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:3–5).
We haven’t earned anything through our own goodness—and we still can’t. But we have been forgiven for our old way of being. When we fail and then repent, we’re reminded of our need, Christ’s sacrifice, and His renewing work in us through the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).
When we’re not honest with others—including those outside our faith communities—about our failures and our need for forgiveness, we’re projecting a false righteousness that turns others off from the gospel. Instead, by being honest and transparent about our weaknesses, we’re testifying to Christ’s righteousness and the work of the Spirit. Knowing this, we should examine all areas of our lives and all our relationships, seeking forgiveness and restoration where it’s needed.
How have you failed people in your life? How can you reach out and seek their forgiveness?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David, and Asa his son reigned in his stead: in whose days the land was quiet ten years. And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves, And commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to do according to the Law and the Commandment. And he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places, and the images: therefore the Kingdom was quiet before him. He built also strong cities in Judah, because the land was in rest, and he had no war in those years: for the Lord had given him rest. Therefore he said to Judah, Let us build these cities, and make walls about, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is before us: becasue we have sought the Lord our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side: so they built and prospered. And Asa had an army of Judah, that bare shields and spears, three hundred thousand, and of Benjamin that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were valiant men. And there came out against him Zerah of Ethiopia with an host of ten hundred thousand, and three hundred chariots, and came unto Mareshah. Then Asa went out before him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah, beside Mareshah. And Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to help with many, or with no power: help us, O Lord our God: for we rest on thee, and in thy Name are we come against this multitude: O Lord, thou art our God: let not man prevail against thee. So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. And Asa and the people that was with him, pursued them unto Gerar. And the Ethiopians’ host was overthrown, so that there was no life in them: for they were destroyed before the Lord and before his host: and they carried away a mighty great spoil. And they smote all the cities round about Gerar: for the fear of the Lord came upon them, and they spoiled all the cities, for there was exceeding much spoil in them. Yea, and they smote the tents of cattle, and carried away plenty of sheep and camels, and returned to Jerusalem. Then the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Obed. And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, O Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin, hear ye me, The Lord is with you, while ye be with him: and if ye seek him, he will be found of you, but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without Priest to teach, and without Law. But whosoever returned in his affliction to the Lord God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of him. And in that time there was no peace to him, that did go out and go in: but great troubles were to all the inhabitants of the earth. For nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God troubled them with all adversity. Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall have a reward. And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of God troubled them with all adversity. Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall have a reward. And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Obed the Prophet, he was encouraged, and took away the abominations out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken of mount Ephraim, and he renewed the altar of the Lord, that was before the porch of the Lord. And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for there fell many to him out of Israel, when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. So they assembled to Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. And they offered unto the Lord the same time of the spoil which they had brought, even seven hundred bullocks, and seven thousand sheep. And they made a covenant to seek the Lord God of their hearts, with all their heart, and with all their soul. And whosoever will not seek the Lord God of Israel, shall be slain, whether he were small or great, man or woman. And they sware unto the Lord with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with corners. And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn unto the Lord with all their heart, and sought him with a whole desire, and he was found of them. And the Lord gave them rest round about. And King Asa deposed Maachah his mother from her regency, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa brake down her idol, and stamped it, and burnt it at the book Kidron. But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: yet the heart of Asa was perfect all his days. Also he brought into the house of God the things that the father had dedicated, and that he had dedicated silver, and gold, and vessels. And there was no war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa. In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa came Baasha king of Israel up against Judah, and built Ramah, to let none pass out or go in to Asa king of Judah, Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the Lord, and of the king’s house, and sent to Ben-Hadad king of Aram that dwelt at Damascus, saying, There is a covenant between me and and thee, and between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent thee silver and gold: come, break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me. And Ben-Hadad hearkened unto King Asa, and sent the captains of the army which he had, against the cities of Israel. And they smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abel Maim, and all the store cities of Naphtali. And when Baasha heard it, he left building of Ramah, and let his work cease. Then Asa the king took all Judah, and carried away the stones of Ramah and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha did build, and he built therewith Geba and Mizpha. And at that sam time Hanani the Seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast rested upon the king of Aram, and not rested in the Lord thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Aram escaped out of thine hand. The Ethiopians and the Lubim, were they not a great host with chariots and horsemen, exceeding many? yet because thou didst rest upon the Lord, he delivered them into thine hand. For the eyes of the Lord behold all the earth, to show himself strong with them that are of perfect heart toward him: thou hast then done foolishly in this: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars. Then Asa was wroth with the Seer, and put him into a prison: for he was displeased with him, because of this thing. And Asa oppressed certain of the people at the same time. And behold, the acts of Asa first and last, lo, they are written in the book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. And Asa in the nine and thirtieth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, and his disease was extreme: yet he sought not the Lord in his disease, but to the Physicians. So Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign. And they buried him in one of his sepulchers, which he had made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed, which they had filled with sweet odors and divers kinds of spices made by the art of the Apothecary: and they burnt odors for him with an exceeding great fire. 2 Chronicles 14:1–16:14
- Put them in remembrance that they be subject to the principalities and powers, and that they be obedient, and ready to every good work. That they speak evil of no man, that they be no fighters, but soft, showing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were in times past unwise, disobedient, deceived, serving the lusts and divers pleasures, living in malciousness and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But when that bountifulness and that love of God our Savior toward man appeared, Not by the works of righteousness, which we had done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of the new birth, and the renewing of the holy Ghost. Which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Savior, That we, being justified by his grace, should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:1–7
- The Lord reigneth: let the earth rejoice: let the multitude of the Isles be glad. Clouds and darkness are the foundation of his throne. There shall go a fire before him, and burn up his enemies round about. His lightnings gave light unto the world: the earth saw it and was afraid. The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory. Confounded be all they that serve graven images, and that glory in idols: worship him all ye gods. Zion heard of it, and was glad: and the daughters of Judah rejoiced, because of thy judgments, O Lord. For thou, Lord, art most High above all the earth: thou art much exalted above all gods. Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his Saints: he will deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. Rejoice ye righteous in the Lord, and give thanks for his holy remembrance. Sing unto the Lord a new song: for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm have gotten him the victory. The Lord declared his salvation: his righteousness hath he revealed in the sight of the nations. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. All the earth, sing ye loud unto the Lord: cry out and rejoice, and sing praises. Sing praise to the Lord upon the harp, even upon the harp with a signing voice. With shalms and sound of trumpets sing loud before the Lord the king. Let the sea roar, and all that therein is, the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands, and let the mountains rejoice together. Before the Lord: for he is come to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world: and the people with equity. Psalm 97:1–98:9