TITUS 3:4-7: “But— When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.” NLT
OBSERVATION: What happened when we believed? What is the difference between the Old and the New Covenants? What did we bring to the table when we were saved?
I can think of no better summary of the New Birth than Paul’s statement of faith in the book of Titus. In direct contrast to the Judaizers who said you must keep the Law to be saved, Paul reminds Titus of the core of the Christian faith. However, before he does that he reminds Titus of what we brought to the table in the work of salvation.
- “Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.” Titus 3:3 NLT
What did we bring to the table? We brought our foolishness and disobedience. We brought our bondage to sin, lust, and pleasure. And we brought a broken heart filled with all forms of evil, envy, and hatred. It was like we had our totaled car hauled up to the new car dealer and wanted top dollar for our trade-in. The bottom line is,
WE BROUGHT NOTHING TO THE TABLE!
Now, let’s contrast what God did for us in Jesus Christ. First, he revealed His kindness and love through Jesus Christ. All of Jesus’ ministry was a physical expression of the true heart of the Father. This is why Jesus said – “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” Numerous times Jesus said – “You have heard it said…but I say unto you…”. Jesus came to reveal the kindness and love of the Father.
Did we earn this kindness and love? We have already seen that we were broken beyond repair. Then why did Jesus choose us? Were we somehow more desirable than others? Were we more righteous than others? We were none of these things.
- “…he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”
It was God’s mercy. It was His unmerited favor and love. It was His willingness to become a man, live a perfect life, and bear the sins of all mankind on the cross. Salvation is the work of God from start to finish. We bring nothing to the table and we can do nothing to save ourselves. We are saved by grace through faith – alone! We are called to believe and confess Jesus Christ as Lord. Yet, it is God’s mercy and grace that enables us to do this. This too is a great mystery of the faith!
The New Covenant is so much different than the Old Covenant. It is not only for the reasons noted above. It is also for what takes place in this wonderful transaction of faith. In the Old Covenant sins were temporarily covered over by the continual blood of the sacrifice. Yet, our sins were never removed. In the New Covenant, these are the wonderful things that take place.
- “He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.”
Our sins are not just covered – they are removed! We are given a new heart through the new birth. Jesus’ final sacrifice, His shed blood, does not cover our sins – It washes them white as snow. The Holy Spirit gives us a new heart and we experience a new birth – a spiritual rebirth!
- “He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
On the Day of Pentecost, everything changed. The Holy Spirit, who once only fell upon select people who were called by God, did not only fall upon all believers – He came to live within them! In the same way that Jesus Christ was baptized in the Holy Spirit, now we too have the Holy Spirit poured out upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior! It is the presence of the Holy Spirit in our life that makes the New Covenant one of relationship with the living God and not adherence to an external set of laws and rituals.
- “Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.”
The mystery of the New Covenant, now being revealed in us, is – “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” There is something that takes place in the heart of every born-again believer. It is a new confidence for living, a new hope, a new assurance. It is the hope of glory, the promise of eternal life. It is that blessed assurance that this life is not the end. We have an eternity to live in fellowship with God and with those who call upon the name of Jesus!
When you break down this simple paragraph you will find that it holds within it the totality of our faith. It is one of the most powerful and succinct statements of faith in the Bible. It is a statement that we should all take to heart and read often. It holds within it the blessed hope of a life with Jesus now and in the life to come!
Lord, thank You for Your unfathomable kindness, love, and mercy!
In Jesus Name!