STRENGTH TO SAY "NO"
Paul wrote: "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world" (Titus 2:12-14).
In our day and age people have a real problem saying, "no." In the early 1980's Nancy Reagan, First Lady of the United States, learning the prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse launched a campaign called, "Just Say No." The problem of not saying "no" is perpetuated by parents when they raise their children and do not teach them what "No" means. In "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts," each of us must be able to say "no" in order to be pleasing to God.
Denying Ungodliness and Worldly Lusts: It is a foolish person who gives his life over to the things of the world and its lusts. God's grace will save man, but it will only do so if we learn to say to say "no" to sin. In Rom. 6:1 Paul asks, "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" He then answers his own question in verse 2, "God forbid." Paul stresses to the Romans that we must say no to sin. Paul writing to the Corinthians said, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Notice that the unrighteous (ungodly) will not be saved. Why? Because they failed to say "no" to the various sins that are listed by Paul. The grace of God brings salvation to all men, but only those that live according to the teaching of God's will and say "no" to evil.
How Can We Have Strength To Say "No"?: The strength to say "no" to the lusts of the world is found in the attitude of living "soberly, righteously and godly." To live soberly means to live a self-controlled life. Righteously meanst to live upright which will cause our lives to be godly. Focusing on the eternal things and not on the temporary. Strength in our lives comes when we give ourselves to things that cause our faith to be strong. Reading, studying, and meditating upon the word of God. Praying for wisdom and strength to face the things of life.
The grace of God has come to man that all can be saved, but do not think that means that all will be saved. The rich man in Lk. 12:16-21 lived his life for himself. We must understand that God gave His Son so that we might be saved and that we must give our lives to righteousness and godliness if we are to be saved. Therefore, let us live our lives recognizing that what we do and how we live will determine where we will spend our eternity.
By David A.Cox in Gospel Power, Vol. 10, No. 40, Oct. 5, 2003.
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