I love what the New Living Translation does with this verse:
He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.
(Titus 2:14, emphasis mine)
He wants us free from every kind of sin and ‘want’ is too weak a word. He died to free us from every kind of sin.
And the thing is: sin sucks.
We get it wrong when we think of sin as all-the-bright-shiny-things-that-I-really-want-but-God-won’t-let-me-have. It is those things but only for a moment – the moment just before we get them. Ultimately, and far more importantly, sin is all the things that keep us miserable.
Those relational problems you hate? Their roots, deep down in the dirt somewhere, are sin. I know this because love doesn’t damage relationships (though it might end a damaging relationship); so whatever is causing the hurt comes from something other than love. And in a relationship: where love stops, sin begins. There is actually nothing in the middle.
That fear? Oh, this is a big one for me – fear is sin. Did you know that? Fear opposes faith. It has no place in God’s kingdom. Have you ever thought to repent from fear?
Addictions, obsessions, meanness, impatience, doubt, anxiety; even boredom is a kind of sin.
Loneliness too, can be; since it can deny the love and presence of God.
Guilt itself – the kind that doesn’t lead to forgiveness, the kind that acts as if Christ’s death isn’t enough – that sort of debilitating guilt is sin.
And this is good news.
It’s great news, because it means that Jesus hates these things as much as we do – more. He died to free us from all of it – every kind – to free us and to cleanse us. He wants it gone. And there’s more.
He wants us for Himself. All. His. Very. Own.
“Totally committed to doing good deeds.”
The only way I will ever be totally that, is if I am totally filled with the Spirit of Jesus and then – oh, then! – I will also be full of all kinds of good things, things like love and joy and peace. No wonder they will spill out in good deeds.
He wants this for us.
He let Himself be tortured and killed so we could have this.
Yes but – I can hear your argument – yes but, still here I am, not full of love, joy and peace; not free of every kind of sin. How do I make sense of all this in light of the reality of my experience?
See, that’s the wrong question. The question should be: how do I make sense of my experience in light of the reality of these things?
That one is an excellent question.
I can’t answer it for you.
But keep asking, because it will bring you where you need to go.
In fact, ask Him.