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Leading people into a maturing new life in Jesus Christ

The Fullness of Salvation

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)

What a text for meditation and contemplation! What a teaching on salvation. God saves us fully. And notice, the goodness and mercy of God is not only an attribute of God, but a person — Jesus Christ our Savior.

At one time in the past I viewed salvation only as some type of legal transaction: Jesus’ death pays the price of my ransom; my quilt is removed; God acquits me of sin by declaring me righteous (“justified”); I’m free from sin’s penalty, so I agree to behave in a better way.

While the Scriptures make it very clear that the cross is the very center of God’s plan to save us, it’s interesting that Paul does not directly refer to either the cross or the death of Jesus when writing to Titus. He does, however, refer to salvation and speaks of its source as the “goodness” of God, its means as “Jesus Christ our Savior,” and its results as “regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit.”

Salvation involves “regeneration” — washing us clean inside and out and giving us a new nature, making us into new people. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” All this “renewal” happens through the generous outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit into our hearts through the justifying grace of God. God declares us righteous in Jesus because we now have his goodness within. As Paul declares elsewhere, “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).

God’s salvation is a gift which not only releases us from the penalty of sin, but a gift which so changes us within that we begin a new life that leads to peace and joy — and one day will lead to the absence of the presence of sin in God’s universe.

So let’s rejoice in the truth that salvation goes beyond clearing our record of sin so we can go to heaven someday. Let’s praise God for the fullness of salvation — the assurance that while the process is continuing, “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

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Contributed by Pastor Larry Zuchowski


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