Titus 3:4-5 (ESV) 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,
These verses are commanding. They arrest my attention. Word like “goodness, loving kindness” and “not because of works done by us in righteousness,” overwhelm me. As I have grown in the Lord and reflect on my inconsistent life as a believer and His unfailing love, in spite of that, I see something that is incomprehendable to my little mind. It’s a love, a compassion for His people that is not influenced and can’t be earned. It is His mercy. It’s not a mercy that is found in empathy but in His character.
Ephesians 2:4-7 (ESV) 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
God does not save based on good looks, a perceived innocence, and yes, obviously, our good works. His saving mercy and grace ins not influenced by any external data. It is not an emotional response to our lost condition. God’s compassion is an action of grace and mercy on our behalf, not a feeling generated out of empathy. It is a love (philanthrōpia) for mankind (vs.4) that finds no merit in mankind but rather expresses the goodness and grace of God.
What is even more significant, is that God’s un-earned, uninfluenced love, is ever faithful because it is uninfluenced by anything else other that God’s sovereign decision to act on our behalf in love. It is because of this, that no outside influence can cause Him to cease in His action of Love for as well.
Lamentations 3:22 (ESV) 22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
Psalm 86:15 (ESV) 15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Psalm 145:8 (ESV) 8 The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
When Paul says, “Not of works” (Ephesians 2:8) or “not by works or righteousness,” (Titus 3:5), it means just that. There re no works, past , present, or future, that have influenced God’s saving love. Even our faith (Ephesians 2:8) and repentance (Titus 2:25) are gifts of God whereby we are drawn (John 6:44) to Christ and regeneration.
Our salvation is a work of the Triune God from beginning to end. We see expressed in a love that never ends and ever keeps.
John 10:28 (ESV) 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.