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Photo: Enigma Sport

"God answers my prayers everywhere except on the golf-course."

Billy Graham

Trustworthy 5

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy. Titus 3:4-8

This trustworthy saying is quite like the first one, that we looked at a few weeks ago. It is mainly a reminder of the gospel message but he spells out a few important points.

Firstly our salvation is “not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy”. We are God’s children not because of anything good about us but because of God’s grace and mercy.

For people who live in the world of sport, that is a hard concept to grasp. As Greg Smith put it: “Professional athletes are constantly being graded. They live and die by statistics such as batting averages, money lists, fairways hit and shooting percentages”. For UK track and field athletes there is a website that records the time they ran in every race – ever! You are in the team because your performance – according to the statistics – proves that you should be. But when you come to God, you have to leave all your statistics and achievements behind and rely solely on his grace and mercy.

Paul ends with an amazing promise that we are “heirs according to the hope of eternal life”. We are part of God’s forever family. Human life is short; the life of an athlete even shorter. They say NFL stands for “Not for long”. God’s reward for his people lasts forever.

I once read that there was a tradition among missionaries in China in the 19th century that when they parted they never said good-bye because they knew that people who know God never meet for the last time.

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