Jeremiah 27-29 Titus 3
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior was shown, he saved us because of his mercy. It was not because of good deeds we did to be right with him. He saved us through the washing that made us new people through the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:4-5 NCV)
As I read these words of Paul, I’m reminded of those mothers who tell their kids, “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times…” In just about every one of his letters he reminds those who read it that the only way to be saved, to have a relationship with God, is through His mercy or His grace. He stated numerous times that we never get right with God by doing enough good deeds. Paul could have told Titus, “I know this goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway.” While some people might point to the last part of this section and use that as a justification for believing that baptism is necessary for salvation, Paul makes it clear that the washing comes when the Holy Spirit cleanses us as we accept God’s forgiveness.
It’s amazing how hard that is for people to comprehend. If you ask people why God should accept them, most would start talking about all the good things they’ve done. While their works may be admirable, they can never be enough to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus paid that penalty on the cross. Maybe you aren’t that bad in real life, but let’s not forget that serial killers are seen as pretty nice people 95% of the time. I know you aren’t a serial killer, at least I hope you aren’t, but the point is that no matter how good we may seem to be, we’re separated from God because of our words, deeds, and attitudes. Nothing we do can change that. But God showed us His kindness and love and saved us through His mercy. He washed us and made us clean in His sight by the Holy Spirit because Jesus paid our penalty on the cross. The only way to have a relationship with God is to accept His free gift of mercy that He gives out of His kindness and love. Don’t wait until you clean yourself up “good enough” because that won’t happen. Let the Holy Spirit cleanse you and then live in the joy of Jesus in your life.
Lord, thank You for Your free gift of mercy that allows me to have fellowship with You. Help me to share Your mercy and grace with others who are still stuck in the belief that they need to win Your love. Let me be an example of Your lovingkindness.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.