Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of December 10, 2006

Titus 3:4-7
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Here we have the true Christmas story. Christ has come to display the kindness and benevolence of God toward man. Many have trouble with what they consider to be a very judgmental God in the Old Testament. The Old Testament shows us what sin has done to mankind and it also shows us what we deserve because of our sin. But in the New Testament we are clearly reminded that God has given us mercy that we do not deserve. We are reminded of his love and his kindness in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One who has truly revealed God to us.

I notice that this story includes words like saved and mercy and regeneration. These are all words that are important in our relationship with God. Notice that according to Paul, he and Timothy were saved. I am saved. I am not saved because of my works of righteousness even though we are to maintain good works if we are saved (Titus 3:8). So what does it mean to be saved? It means that we are delivered from the penalty that we deserve because of our sin. That penalty is permanent separation from God and eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:15). A saved person is also born again or from above (John 3:7, 1 Peter 1:23). A birth is a deliverance as well but a birth delivers us for something while salvation delivers us from something. So I have been delivered from the penalty of sin and for a new life with Christ. Being born again is somewhat like getting married. The moment you say, “I do” things change. Your time is not your own, your possessions are not your own, and you can’t make decisions on your own. But this is a good thing if you have married one that you love and with whom you want to live a new life. When we are born again, we start a new life like that with the Lord Jesus.

Regeneration or new life cleanses us from the sins of the former life. God says we are clean because of the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7). But, in addition, we are renovated by the Holy Spirit. That’s what the word renewing really means. God takes us and does to us what remodelers do to old houses. He cleans us up, fixes us up and makes us presentable because now we are seen in the righteousness of Christ (Isaiah 61:10). We are also justified which means that have been made right with God by the grace of God. Being made right by grace simply means that we didn’t do something to deserve to be made right and underscores the fact that our salvation is not by works of righteousness that we have done. Think of it! We who are saved, now have hope. We have something to which we can look forward. Eternal life is a life from eternity (quality) and a life for eternity (quantity). This hope is what motivates us to live our lives for Christ now.

The Christmas story tells us of the love of God. God became a man so we could know who God is and so that we could have a sacrifice for our sins. The Lord was born to die. He died so we could live and the proof of that is in that fact that He was raised from the dead. It would be possible to know the whole story and never really believe in the Lord who came to save us. What a waste that would be. This time of year, we need to ask ourselves if really understand the Christmas story and if we can say, “but according to His mercy He saved me.”

Bruce Collins

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