So, this morning, I was reading through Titus and was really struck by Paul’s words. Here is the first half of Titus 3 (NIV):
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned. (Titus 3)
What really hit me were these few words, “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” God is so awesome that he saves us through mercy, which is good because I wouldn’t want to have to earn salvation through righteous things I have done (deeds) because I wouldn’t stack up. But God is merciful. We have been washed, reborn, and renewed by the Holy Spirit through Jesus.
But Paul doesn’t stop there! We are saved by God’s mercy, but should still be “devote [ourselves] to doing what is good.” That is not always easy to do, but a calling I know we all have.