Tuesday, December 01, 2020

2020.12.01 Hopewell @Home ▫ Titus 3:3–8

Read Titus 3:3–8

Questions from the Scripture text: What seven things were “we ourselves once” (Titus 3:3)? What appeared (Titus 3:4)? Not by what did it appear (Titus 3:5)? But according to what? What did God do? Through what? What did God do with His Spirit (Titus 3:6)? Onto whom? How much? Through Whom? What did His grace accomplish (Titus 3:7a)? What did this make us? According to what hope? What kind of saying is Titus 3:8? What does the apostle (by the Spirit) want them to constantly do with it? About which people is he talking in this verse? What should they be careful to maintain? What results do good works produce for men? 

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Prayer of Confession all come from Titus 3:3–8, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with How Vast the Benefits Divine.

Justification is one part of God’s marvelous salvation of terrible sinners.

And “terrible sinners” is what we all start out as. “Foolish”—those who say in our hearts that there is no God. “Disobedient”—those whose wickedness resists restraining by authority. “Deceived”—those whose minds resist the truth of God, living and worshiping according to our own ideas instead.  “Serving various lusts and pleasures”—dominated by desires instead of delighting in God’s goodness that is the proper object of proper desire.  “Living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another”—our hostility to God spilling over in all manner of hostile thought and action toward those made in His image.

So, it ought to be obvious that God saving us is “not by works of righteousness which we have done”—such a thing could never save us because apart from God’s kindness and love and mercy, such a thing doesn’t exist! When God became man, “the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared” in the person of the incarnate Lord Jesus. 

But there is also a glorious moment in the life of every elect person where “the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man” appears. According to God’s mercy (not our or others’ effort, not our or others’ wisdom), He saves “through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Absolutely necessary, because of the completeness of our condition from Titus 3:3. And absolutely free because of the perfection of God’s character from Titus 3:4. God makes us NEW!

But how can the righteous God give such a work of such a Spirit to such sinners as we are? Titus 3:6 answers, “through Jesus Christ our Savior.” The perfection of Christ in our stead is such that through Him, God’s giving us His Spirit is described here as an “abundant pouring out on us”!

Now… you may have run into the idea (or even, from your own flesh, had the idea) that emphasizing Christians’ good works is somehow incompatible with emphasizing God’s grace. But nothing could be more opposite the truth! For the God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—who finds us in the condition in Titus 3:3 is too gracious, too powerful, too good to leave us in that condition.

When God justifies us with Himself, in Christ, by the work of His Spirit, He makes us to live expectantly, as those who have a sure hope of eternal life. Those who live by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. Those who live under the washing work of the Holy Spirit. Those who now do those works of righteousness that they possessed none of apart from Christ!

This is why you must maintain good works. This is why you must be careful to maintain good works. This is why preachers must affirm that those who have believed in God must be careful to maintain good works. This is why preachers must constantly affirm that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. (Titus 3:8)

It is good and profitable men to hear and embrace the whole gospel, leaving out no part of God’s great salvation in Christ, by His Spirit.

Why did you need to be regenerated? Why did God save you? Where is that salvation showing up in your life?

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH426 “How Vast the Benefits Divine”

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