4 “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 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,” (Titus 3:4-5 ESV).
Today’s text is a stark contrast to the condition of fallen sinners described in Titus 3:3: “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.”
The Apostle Paul explained to Titus that while our sins are sufficient to condemn us, our works of righteousness are not sufficient to save us from God’s judgment. Salvation from sin’s penalty, power and eventual presence is based upon God’s sovereign grace alone, through God given faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. It is not based on human effort.
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared.” Titus 3:4 begins with a conjunction of contrast; but. What fallen sinners were is contrasted with what they have become. The basis for this change in status is the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior.
Goodness (χρηστότης; chrēstotēs) is kindness, which is a manifestation of grace. Loving kindness (φιλανθρωπία; philanthrōpia) is a benevolent love for one’s fellow man. Both of these qualities are solely sourced in and from God the Father, our Savior.
Paul refers to God the Father as Savior in this text. In the Pastoral Epistles, Paul describes both God the Father and God the Son as Saviors for the elect (I Timothy 1:1; 2:3; 4:10; 2 Tim. 1:8-10; Titus 1:3-4; 2:10; 2:13; 3:4-6).
To appear (ἐπιφαίνω; epiphainō) is a past tense passive verb. It means to give light and understanding. It means to manifest and reveal something. In this context, what God manifested to fallen sinners was His goodness and loving kindness.
The appearance of God our Savior’s goodness and loving kindness was to save us sinners. God has personally saved us. To save (σῴζω; sozo) means to deliver, rescue and heal. At a particular point in time, God actively chose to deliver me from my sin; its penalty, power and eventual presence. As is the case with every believer in Christ, God saved me from the penalty of sin, is saving me from the power of sin, and will eventually save me from the very presence of sin.
Romans 3:21–26 (ESV) says, “21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
May each of us God has saved take time to day to praise Him for this wonderful gift of grace. Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!