Just a Cool and Encouraging Passage

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior 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 Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. (Titus 3:3-8)

I’m not sure why, but the above passage came to my mind about a week ago and I can’t seem to stop thinking about it. I wasn’t reading in Titus at the time and I can’t think of why it came to my mind. But it’s there. So, I thought maybe I would just look at the meaning of a few things in this passage for your, and my own, encouragement.

This passage basically talks about our salvation in our Lord Jesus and in a chronological order. It starts with our life before conversion; then moves to what God did to bring our salvation about and it ends with the result of our salvation. Personally, I believe this passage  is one of the clearest presentations of salvation in all of Scripture. First, the passage gives us a rather unflattering description of our lives before salvation (verse 3). It says we were foolish and not able to comprehend spiritual matters. We were disobedient to God, if no one else. We were also deceived by Satan and our own perverted minds. We were also given to all kinds of evil habits like envy and hatred. Basically, we were slaves to the devil and our own thinking and habits. That’s about as ugly of a description as things get! I’m glad the passage just doesn’t just leave us there. And now for the good news!!

Verse 4 starts out with the conjunction, “but” This is another time when a small conjunction has great meaning. Another one is found in Ephesians 2:4, “But God….” Here is Titus it talks about, But when….” At the perfect time, Jesus Christ appeared on the scene! God’s goodness and loving kindness appeared in Jesus Christ, God’s Son. We celebrate this at Christmas time year after year, but I doubt that it has the impact on us that it should. This was the start of one of the greatest rescue missions in history!

Verse 5 is beautiful!! It starts out with by saying that He saved us, not by works, but by the “washing of regeneration.” This is such a clear presentation, that it’s mind boggling. But it is also one of the most difficult things for man to understand and accept. Bottom line: we cannot, under any circumstances, save ourselves. Salvation only happens because of God’s mercy. If we could be saved by works, then salvation would come based on God’s justice. But no man or woman is just before God. No, it is because of His mercy that He chose to make a way for our salvation. But how does He do this? Verse 5 says, “by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” This is a picture of us becoming “new creations (2 Cor. 5:17). God doesn’t take us and clean us up. He makes us brand new! One commentator puts it this way, “THE SPIRIT OF GOD BRINGS ABOUT A MARVELOUS TRANSF0RMATION—NOT PUTTING NEW CLOTHES ON THE OLD MAN, BUT PUTTING A NEW MAN IN THE CLOTHES!” Ah! I get excited just writing about this.

Verse 6 says that God POURED OUT the Holy Spirit on us richly (or abundantly). Every real believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit from the moment he is saved. God does this “through Jesus Christ, our Savior.”

Verse 7 talks about the results of our salvation. At the time of our salvation, we were JUSTIFIED and MADE HEIRS. Our justification is already complete. God pronounced us righteous! Since we have no righteousness of our own God had to declare (if I may say it that way) us righteous. The basis for this was Jesus’ shed blood on the Cross. What a glorious salvation God made on our behalf!

Verse 8 talks about the practical results of our salvation. What is that? The outworking of our salvation is good works. God didn’t save us just so we could go on as were once were. If we profess ourselves to be followers of Jesus, then our lives should show that. Our salvation is not given because of our good works, but good works should be a result of our salvation. Ephesians 2:10 says that God prepared our good works beforehand, so that we would walk in them. I believe Stonepoint’s four connections are correct. As Christ followers, we are to connect to God, to others, in service (works) and to the world.

I feel like I’m doing the proverbial “preaching to the choir” in this post. But this passage makes me be more thankful and joyful for the salvation that God provided me. It causes me to praise Him for choosing me. That’s still a mystery to me, by the way. But in His sovereign will and grace, God chose me!! And He chose you, too!! PRAISE GOD!!! Let us worship and praise our great God!!

   

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