Have you ever wondered what is so good about Good Friday? If Jesus does not die, He cannot rise from the dead. That is what is good about it! This past Friday, I preached on Titus 3:4-7, and we reflected on the cross and all that it means for us. At the cross we are:
Overwhelmed by His Love
Verse 4 mentions the kindness and love of God. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world….” We are told in 1 John that we love only because He first loved us. In Matthew 3, God the Father says, “This is my beloved son…” God the Father loves His Son, yet He was willing to sacrifice the Son He loves on the cross because He loves us too! Romans 2:1 says, “The goodness of God leads to repentance.” “Goodness” there is the same word as “kindness” here in Titus. Love is why God did what He did. When you need to be reminded that God loves you, don’t look at your circumstances, but look at the cross.
Saved by His Mercy
“…not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (v. 5). When we repent of our sin, and call on Jesus in faith, He saves us completely. Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. We are redeemed, transferred out of bondage into freedom, no longer living for self or controlled by the world, the flesh, and the devil, all because of mercy. Mercy is not the same as grace. Mercy is God NOT giving us what we do deserve. In the Bible we read that our heroes of the faith were all sinners. But, they found mercy and were saved by the blood of the lamb!
Washed by His Blood
Verse 5 also says, “…through the washing of regeneration.” Jesus’ death brought us life. Regeneration is the new birth. Christianity is not religion but a living relationship with the living God. Jesus did not die to make a bad man good or a good man better. He died to make a dead man live. We are not saved by works of righteousness that we have done, but by His mercy and grace. “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another” (v. 3). We are washed clean through regeneration. We are washed and redeemed with the blood of Jesus. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.
Filled by His Spirit
“…and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (v. 5). The Holy Spirit baptizes, indwells, fills, sanctifies, and seals us all at the point of conversion. Our bodies become the temple of the Holy Spirit. His presence in us is evidence of salvation. On the cross, Jesus conquered the flesh with all its passions and desires so we can now walk in the Spirit. Sanctification is a progressive work of the Spirit. I am not what I should be or will be, but praise God I’m not what I used to be! Daily we need the renewing and filling of the Holy Spirit.
Justified by His Grace
In verse 7 we read that we are “justified by His grace.” There is amazing grace for every race! God reconciled us to Himself and to one another. Mercy is God NOT giving us what we do deserve. Grace is God giving us what we DON’T deserve. Instead of damnation, God gives us salvation. “Justified” means to make righteous or declare righteous. He took all our sin and He gave us all His righteousness. It is a legal term where God declares our account paid in full by the finished work of Jesus on the cross. It is an act of God. It is not a process like sanctification. It is finished. The result is peace with God.
The way to protect a home from a fire is to burn the area around the home. Flames pose no danger to an area already burned. The cross is the only safe place from the fiery judgment that will someday engulf the world because it is the one place where the judgment of God has already been. There is there now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. At Calvary, “Mercy there was great and grace was free!”