WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – We know that we’re supposed to be kind to everyone, but some people make it really difficult. It’s a little easier when we recognize how much we needed God’s kindness ourselves and how generously He gave it. Paul gives us three lists of facts that help us show kindness to those who don’t deserve it:
Here’s where each of us started: “We too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another” (Titus 3:3).
Here’s what happened when Jesus looked on us with mercy: “But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us – not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy – through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).
When we grasp the depths from which He has reclaimed us and the heights to which He has taken us, here are the effects it should have on our behavior: We ought “…to be ready for every good work, to slander no one, to avoid fighting, and to be kind, always showing gentleness to all people” (Titus 3:1-2).
WONDERFUL THING IN OUR LIVES – Surveying that second list changes everything for us. Let’s look at it in a little more detail:
“He saved us” – He saw us hopelessly trapped in sin and deception, and He snatched us out of that pit and deposited us in His eternal kingdom: “He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Col. 1:13).
“washing of regeneration” – Having secured our future, He immediately began to flush out the sludge of foolishness and malice that had so deeply infected us. He began restoring life in parts of us where death had already set in.
“renewal by the Holy Spirit” – Just as hard use and neglect dilapidate a home, enslavement to passions and pleasures dilapidate our souls. The Holy Spirit, the divine Master Craftsman, is renovating and renewing us to what our Creator meant us to be.
“He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly” – A trickle or even just-enough of the Holy Spirit would not do for our generous Lord. He drenched us in His Spirit in such measure that the overflow should saturate those around us.
“justified by his grace” – The Lord Jesus so covered me and my past with His grace that it is “just-as-if-I’d” never sinned. When the Father looks at me, He sees the purity of Jesus.
“heirs with the hope of eternal life” – He has given us eternal residence in His kingdom not as lowly servants but as His own dear children: “heirs of God and coheirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17).
If all that doesn’t make us kinder to others, I don’t know what will. “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32 NASB).