Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient; we were misled by others and became slaves to many evil pleasures and wicked desires. Our lives were full of resentment and envy. We hated others and they hated us. But when the time came for the kindness and love of God our Savior to appear, then he saved us—not because we were good enough to be saved but because of his kindness and pity—by washing away our sins and giving us the new joy of the indwelling Holy Spirit, whom he poured out upon us with wonderful fullness—and all because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did. Titus 3:3-6 (TLB)
The way Paul describes their behavior makes it sound like he is living today and sometimes following me/us around. It would be easy to get stuck on the short-fall of my life or that of humanity. But take note, Paul says “then.”
Then – there was Jesus.
Then – he loved us so very much so he provided a new way.
Then – even though there is nothing we could offer to change things, we were washed clean.
Then – he gave us the Holy Spirit to keep us on the path.
And now – as I sit here and try to comprehend the magnitude of such a gift, an undeserved gift given day after day after day, I am blown away by where I might be right now if there wasn’t ever a “then.”