Why Jesus is My Hero #24 of 52
“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 Saviour, 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)
This is the gospel of Jesus Christ in five verses – and what encouraging verses they are! Here we see three key truths about salvation:
1. Saved FROM sin
When you say “Jesus saves”, the obvious follow-up question is “saves from what?” How you answer that question basically defines your gospel. Many Christians seem most excited about how he’s saved them from a life of purposelessness and insignificance – and it’s true that the gospel is a solution to them both; other people focus on salvation from poverty and sickness and all the trials of this life – and because of the gospel Christians can look forward to a glorious future where all that stuff is banished forever. But in these verses in Titus, primarily we see Jesus saving us from our sin and its effects in our lives – Jesus saves us from lives lived in opposition to God. Once we lived only for ourselves, enslaved by every whim of our human nature, and living under his condemnation. But now we have been set free and made heirs of the glorious hope of eternal life – not that we never sin, but that sin is no longer our master. Sin is now an anomaly in the life of a believer, rather than the norm.
2. Saved BY God’s grace and mercy
Given how we all once lived, it comes as no surprise that we could not possibly earn salvation by our own effort. Someone who is a slave of sin doesn’t just wake up one morning and decide they’re going to love God instead today. Our salvation is purely the result of God’s loving kindness and mercy, poured out on us utterly undeservedly, on people who have done nothing to merit it. This is such a wonderful encouragement – since when we stuff up and fail it means we can’t somehow “undeserve” God’s salvation. We didn’t earn it in the first place, and God already knew what we were like when he saved us. Phew!
3. Saved FOR good works
Finally, we see the purpose of God’s salvation – that we should begin living new lives devoted to godly living. This would be impossible on our own, but God has poured out his Holy Spirit on believers, we’ve experienced “the washing of regeneration and renewal” – we’re new creations in Christ! Christians a experience a fresh start at their conversion, and indeed every day as they repent again and again – God’s mercies are new every morning. Hoorah!
I don’t know about you, but I find that a real challenge – so often I find myself living for myself exactly as I would if I weren’t a Christian. I need to constantly remind myself that the whole reason I exist, the whole reason I’m still here on this earth, is to serve Jesus Christ. All things were made for him – he’s what it’s all about! It makes me want to start praying more for a right focus, a right sense of purpose each morning as I begin my day.
Paul wants us to know these key truths of the gospel, saying that “these things are excellent and profitable for people” – I think I’m beginning to see why!