There but for the grace of God go I.
Scripture: Isaiah 1-3, Titus 3
Titus 3:2–5 They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone. 3 Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. 4 But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
Paul gave young Pastor Titus instructions for his church. He emphasized that Christians must do good (v. 1, 8, 14). Christians must avoid slander and quarreling, and be gentle and show true humility to everyone, including their opponents. Then Paul gives this reason: We too were once foolish, disobedient, misled, slaves to sin, evil, envious and hateful. In other words, you won’t be too hard on others if you remember where you came from, that you were just like them, and you have been saved by the grace of God. You are changed, different, not because of your own efforts or goodness, but because of the grace, kindness, love, mercy and action of God!
Remember that…and be humble. Remember that…and be gentle. Forget that, and you become a self-righteous boor.
“There but for the grace of God go I.” This famous saying has been attributed to 16th century English preacher and martyr, John Bradford, when he saw a group of prisoners being taken to the scaffold. “There but for the grace of God goes John Bradford. (There is some debate about this attribution to Bradford, although it seems in character.)
Each of us would do well to remind ourselves of that regularly. The next time you feel judgmental toward someone for their sinful behavior, remember that…and be gentle and humble.
Prayer: Lord, I get judgmental some times. Forgive me, and remind me every day of Your grace. Keep me humble and gentle.