There is a fellow I listen to on the radio who likes to say at this time of the year that as he checks his last year’s New Year’s resolutions, he realizes he broke all of them and seven of the 10 Commandments too. Of course if he only broke seven of the 10 Commandments he is racking up a pretty good score compared to the rest of fallen humanity. I have always felt that resolutions were a waste of time and I’ve never bothered with them. At the same time it seems to me that some kind of analysis of what we need to do or should be doing is important. The human reset button is work righteousness so some caution is needed. I listen to snatches of sermons as I travel between services and most if it is psychological counseling and “woke” culture jeremiads. The simple proclamation of Christ is often lost or compromised.
There is a common scripture that appears at this time of the year, remember it is still Christmas.
Titus 2:11-14 NIV
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Scholars say that “teaches” is the start of a purpose clause. Luther got it. Some modern translations don’t.
The grace of God, saving all men, has appeared, teaching us; its purpose is that, denying, etc.” That purpose clause allows us to see God’s plan is not simply to produce a paper transaction on a heavenly ledger, but to achieve reactions and changes in human lives here and now. As one scholar has said, “He is a Fruitgrower and His purpose is to raise crops (John 15); He is a Salvager of bad instruments and His purpose is that these instruments do the job for which He originally designed them (Eph.2:1O). The purpose clause in v.14 allows us to peer deep into the heart of Christ and see that when He died for us on the Cross, it was His purpose to redeem us and to fit us out for good works. Hence the preacher preaches the Word with that purpose (d. 2 Tim. 3: 17 ); Christians go to their Baptism with that purpose.” *The good works we do are still God’s handiwork for us to walk in. They don’t earn us salvation they are the purpose for which we are saved.