for we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. but when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. [titus 3:3-7]
dead, blind, evil, helpless, imprisoned, lost, miserable, enemy of God. this is the old me. then entered the love of God. God’s love compelled him to save me, his enemy, by sending his Son to die, taking my place on the cross, so that through him I might have the Holy Spirit, who breathed life into me, gave me sight to see God’s glory, and renewed my soul to call out to my gracious Father for salvation. notice who is doing all the work here. i bring nothing to the table of my salvation. i bring nothing to the table for my sight, my life, my righteousness, my inheritance, or my hope of eternal life. he has done it all, because of his beautiful character seen in this passage. goodness. loving kindness. mercy. rich and generous. gracious.
so many times i’ve thanked the Lord for his saving grace. and then I’ve tried to prove that i’m worth it. tried to prove to him that he should, indeed, have saved me. prove that i can earn the right to keep the inheritance by paying him back with my own righteous deeds. i don’t live as an heir. i live to become the heir, over, and over, and over. this is not the love of Christ controlling me. (2 cor 5:14) this is not living as a new creation. (gal 2:20) this is trying to re-enter the mind of my old self, returning to a life as a slave under the law, rejecting the free and complete gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. this is evidence of a heart that desires to be self saving. it is proof that the enemy will stop at nothing to tell us that God does not, in fact, love us, that his grace is not enough, and that we lose his favor when we stumble.
the truth is that if we are renewed by the Holy Spirit, we will carry out the good works in Christ that God has prepared for us to do. (eph 2:10) but so often we try to carry these out in hope of being renewed by the Holy Spirit. we struggle to believe God would give this gift so freely because it’s so contrary to anything we see modeled in this world. we struggle to believe Jesus would pay our debt because who on earth would ever pay the debt of an enemy? it’s almost unfathomable.
today, fathom it. through the power of the Holy Spirit, fathom it. Christ is enough. his grace is sufficient. we can be controlled by the love of Christ. the old you is dead, and the renewed spirit in you can live confidently in your adoptive Father, who pours out his love, so that through you, his love can be poured out to the world.