My reading today took me through Titus. There are many passages on which I could comment, but this one struck me particularly:
Titus 3:1-7: Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 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. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 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, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (ESV; emphasis mine)
Which among us can claim that we deserve God’s grace? Not one; grace is by definition unmerited. Aside from symantics, we need only look at our own lives – probably only the last five minutes of our lives – to find instances of unrighteousness, or self-righteousness in our hearts with which to convince ourselves that, no, we do not save ourselves and that, no, God doesn’t save righteous people. He didn’t save us on condition of any past goodness, nor on condition or anticipation of future perfectness on this earth. He simply saved us from and despite ourselves.
Pay attention to verses 2 and 3. (more…)