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,
Works vs. Faith has been an argument among Christians since the beginning of Christianity. Clearly the people St. Paul and St. James wrote to in their letters had issues with this argument. Paul said to them, as he did to Titus in today’s verse, that salvation comes from God’s mercy and not by their achievement. Yet, James wrote that faith without works is dead. So do our works save us, at least in part? If you’ve struggled to understand the connection of works and faith, I hope today’s devotion will help clear things up a bit.
You see, it’s all about mercy. Notice that Paul didn’t tell Titus that he didn’t have to do any righteous works because the works won’t save him. No, he phrases it differently. He tells him that God’s salvation does not come because of the righteous works Titus has done, but by His own mercy. Clearly we are called to work in the kingdom. However, like God, all our works should flow from mercy. Salvation is His gift of love to all who will believe, but His mercy flows to all whether they believe or not because God’s nature is to be merciful.
When we truly understand what God has done for us, that He saved us while we were yet in our sins, we can begin to understand that there is no way to earn such love. But, there is a way to show our gratitude for such love. We show that gratitude when let God’s mercy overflow through us to a hurting world. Then, our works are actually His works done through us and are no longer dead, but are the very heartbeat of a living faith. It’s all about mercy.
Grace and Peace,
Heavenly Father, thank you for your great love and mercy that never lets us go. You’re always there to help us out of every temptation if we will only call upon your holy name. Amen.
Image credit: http://www.celebrationchurchlive.com/2015/12/09/mercy/