I wanted to select a book from the Bible I had not used before. I chose the Book of Titus.
This book is traditional seen as being written by St. Paul of Tarsus, to Titus, who had established his church in Crete. Some biblical scholars dispute this authorship. I know it’s hard to believe that scholars disagree. 🙂
I picked Book 3, verses 3-8:
Titus 3:3-8 (New International Version)
3At 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. 4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5he 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, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8This 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.
In verses 3 and 4 Paul is laying down the foundation for leading a life very different from non-believers.
Verse 5. God has saved you solely out of mercy, through the rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit. This rebirth comes to you through the sacrament of Baptism.
Verse 6. The out pouring of the Holy Spirit is given through faith in Jesus Christ.
Verse 7. By his grace God has written you into his will, as his heir. This inheritance is a sure hope. You have this blessed hope for now and forever.
Verse 8. For good, useful, and beneficial work to be done, those who believe in God are to take the lead. Believers have experienced his grace and blessing, and should show thanks for his gift by being good examples for non-believers to follow.
1) Is faith really a gift?
My perception is that Christ Followers believe that God’s grace is given freely. To me there is a price, giving up your will.
I agree that some people are born with sufficient faith, that will keep them going through all of life’s trials, even when they fail.
I did not work that way for me. I had to search, through trial and error, for a source of faith that would sustain me. I had to work to find it, it was not free.
2) Is leading by example the best way to encourage non-believers that your faith is what they need?
I can’t answer that question but I will make the observation that both people of religious faith, and Atheist, are falling short when it comes to being the kind of example that future generations need.