Titus 3:4-7 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Here Paul condenses the whole plan and purpose of salvation, and it is magnificent indeed. In the very next verse he talks about why it’s important that every believer thoroughly understand this. It sometimes amazes me what people seem to think salvation is. Far too many are interested almost entirely in relief from their immediate problems or situation, when God’s perspective is from eternity. We certainly can’t switch instantly to an eternal perspective – I don’t think that happens even at the moment of death – but we do need to examine our goals and see where we are headed. Several years ago The Imperials recorded a song, First Day in Heaven, that deals with the realization that will come over us once we are out of the confines of this life. One thing that is central to it all is that, as Paul says here, salvation isn’t something we can earn, but it is an overflow of God’s kindness, love, and mercy. The only appropriate response is an overwhelming gratitude. People who don’t know they were lost and headed for hell aren’t going to be grateful, and people who think they somehow earned salvation aren’t going to be grateful. Both of those groups have been blinded and deceived by the devil. We need to lay hold of the simple, fundamental truths expressed here and marvel at the incredible grace of God. We sing, Amazing Grace, rather glibly, not understanding that apart from God’s grace we are as fit for hell as the captain of a slave ship.
This of course applies to me, just as it does to every human being. For far too many years I thought I deserved salvation, and God had to come down on me pretty hard to shake me from that deception. Right now I am dedicated to communicating the Good News of salvation to as many as will receive it, but I must never think that such activity in itself earns me salvation; it is simply a response to my having been saved. I desire this same awareness for every believer, in this church and in every other church. Tomorrow I will be preaching on our motivation for meeting as a church, and in the business meeting to follow I plan to have a time of thinking and praying about how we are to fulfill our commission as Christ’s witnesses. We allow all sorts of excuses to keep us from sharing Christ with those around us, and I want us to open our eyes to recognize those excuses for what they are and reject them, boldly speaking the truth in love so that many, many more may be brought from darkness to light, from death into eternal life, for the pleasure and glory of God.
Father, thank You for this. The possibilities for tomorrow seem unlimited and incredible, but I certainly can’t make any of it happen on my own. I ask You to anoint and fill me, anoint and fill each and all of us, so that we may be brought out of “business as usual” into the fullness of Your plans for us, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!