The Lord said, “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth.” Genesis 8:21  

The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly. Titus 2:11-12 

( or in the NIV Translation, verse 12 begins: It teaches us to say “No” to ungodly and worldly passions.  

Just say No! That was a popular phrase a few years ago related to avoiding the use of street drugs. Still used of course to encourage us to avoid all kinds of things we aren’t supposed to do. For example, as a diabetic who needs to get more control of my diet right now, I could just say No to pasta and bread and brownies. Maybe we can pair that with just say Yes – to things like vegetables and lean meat. That is not the easiest thing to do of course. We humans have a great talent for making mistakes. For having good intentions that we often fail to accomplish.   

The book of Titus is written by Paul to Titus, a person he has converted. Also to  a population that Paul has preached to and brought the Good News to. Now that people have learned about Jesus and God’s saving grace, Paul wants to make sure that they are living godly lives. He wants them to practice some self-control and live godly lives. Sounds likes he might be a good diet coach, having us avoid those carbohydrates. He teaches that salvation is for here and now in the present age; not just some future salvation after death although that is part of it. Rather we can live the lives God intends for us right where we are.  

It is reassuring to read in Genesis that God, having just saved Noah and family, knows that we aren’t going to always be good. He promises that He will never again destroy humanity, or curse the ground. He knows that this creation of His will continue to do things wrong, maybe not evil exactly, but certainly sinful actions. And, even knowing this He is ready to save us from ourselves. He has plans to send Jesus Christ as our Savior, even as we read Genesis. Now, the grace of God has appeared for everyone.   

Lord, we know, and you know, 1our human inclinations are selfish. We are challenged with living in our present age, with evil we see around us. Forgive us for our worldliness. Lord, whenever we say, “Never again,” we go ahead and do it again. But not you. How do you refrain from cursing? Is it because you bring salvation instead? Let our training commence. Amen  

Chris Gabel