The Grace of God in Redemption
Copyright © 1986, Indian Hills Community Church, Lincoln, Nebraska
The following text is taken from a sermon preached by Gil Rugh, Senior Pastor at Indian Hills Community Church in Lincoln, NE. The text has been edited and condensed by IHCC staff for use as a Bible Study aid.
Paul opened this chapter by reminding believers how they are to conduct themselves in their relationships with the unbelievers around them. He began with rulers and then expanded to all people in general.
The first reason Paul gives for treating unbelievers properly is that we ourselves were once just like them. We need to be careful not to forget what we once were.
The second reason Paul gives is that we have been cleansed and made new creatures only by virtue of the grace of God. Our present condition as the redeemed testifies to the greatness of God's grace on our behalf. That is the point of verses 4-7.
The basis of God's work on our behalf is seen in four words: "kindness," "love" (v. 4), "mercy" (v. 5) and "grace" (v. 7).
Paul begins by putting the emphasis on God's kindness and love.
"Kindness" (chrestotes) - "goodness, kindness, generosity" (A/G). "It means that spirit which is so kind that it is always ready and eager to give whatever gift may be necessary" (Barclay) (cf. Rom. 2:4; Eph. 2:7).
"Love for mankind" (philanthropia) -
"Appeared" - This looks back to the salvation manifested in Christ (cf. 2:11). The salvation that God accomplished for us in Christ manifested the richness of His kindness and the greatness of His grace (cf. 1 John 4:9,10).
"He saved us" - This is the verb in this long sentence which covers all of verses 4-7.
In its original order, the verb appears in the middle of this verse, after "according to His mercy." This stresses that salvation is not based upon our works.
The stress in this passage is on the fact that our salvation is totally the work of Cod. There is nothing we can do to earn or merit it. This is the consistent emphasis of Scripture and fits the fact that we are hopeless and helpless - depraved sinners (cf, 3:3; Isa, 64:6; Rom. 3:10-18).
This is why our salvation must be based upon God's mercy and grace. Note the four words used to describe God's basis for action in Titus 3:4-7: kindness, love, mercy and grace (cf. Rom. 3:28; 4:5; 11:6; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8,9).
"By the washing of regeneration" - There is no reason to read baptism into this passage. In fact, that would be contrary to the emphasis just given on salvation being by grace through faith.
The reference is to the cleansing and forgiveness that come through being born again. Being born again brings a cleansing (cf. 1 Cor. 6:11).
The idea of being "born again" appears a number of times in the New Testament, although a different word is used (cf. John 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:23).
"Renewing by the Holy Spirit" - We are made new by the Holy Spirit. The two areas here emphasize what happens to us in salvation. We are cleansed from the guilt and defilement of sin and are made new creatures in Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 5:17). The analogy of death, burial and resurrection in Romans 6:4-11 makes the same point.
The Holy Spirit is the One who accomplishes God's salvation in the elect (cf. 2 Thess. 2:13). It is the Holy Spirit who also enables the believer to live a life that is pleasing to God.
The Holy Spirit is given through Christ our Savior. Christ had promised that He would send the Spirit (cf. John 16:7). This is a provision that is given to every believer (cf. Rom, 8:9; 2 Cor, 1:21,22; Gal, 4:6; Eph, 1:13,14).
The fact that we have the Holy Spirit "richly" means we have Him in all of His fullness, without restraint. God gives abundantly. There is not "something more" or "something else" (cf, 1 Tim, 6:17; Eph, 1:3; 2 Pet, 1:3).
Not only have we been cleansed (washing) and made new (renewing), but we have been "justified," declared righteous by God in His infinite grace.
The goal that He accomplished in all this was to make us heirs who would inherit eternal life. Eternal life is something that we now possess but we have not yet experienced its joy (cf. 1:2; 2:13; Rom, 8:16-25).
Do not lose sight of the fact that this great theological statement was given to show why we should conduct ourselves according to the instructions of Titus 3:1,2.
God's marvelous grace took those described in verse 3 and washed them, made them new people, and declared them righteous. Certainly we should conduct ourselves in a courteous and understanding way in our dealings with those who are outside of the redeeming grace of God.
Where are you today? Have you believed the truth that you might be saved?
Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, © Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977. All quotations used by permission.
Permission was received from Indian Hills Community Church for the posting of this file on Bible Bulletin Board. Our gratitude to the Holy Spirit for leading Pastor Gil Rugh to preach/teach messages that are bold, and doctrinally sound—they are so needful to this generation.
Bible Bulletin Board
Columbus, New Jersey, USA, 08022
Our websites: www.biblebb.com and www.gospelgems.com
Online since 1986