Life is messy. Our selfishness and sin tangles up everything, doesn’t it? I can make such a tangled mess out of my life that I am bound by knots that I cannot undo…however, our sin-soaked human condition is made even more difficult as each of our tangled messes become interwoven in everyone else’s tangled messes. Every mess we face is caused by either our own selfishness or someone else’s selfishness. When we recognize our sin for what it is, we quickly realize that life is so messy that we could never un-messy it.
Titus 3:3-4 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But…
In our heart-of-hearts, when we are honest…that is who we were. Disobedient fools that happily chased and submitted to all kinds of destructive behaviors. We lived in constant suspicion and envy of others, hating anyone who appeared to have something we did not. Every aspect of our existence was focused completely on ourselves.
The word “but” always signals a change in direction. It is a key term to look for when we read the Scriptures. “But” tells us that the subject matter is about to change, that something different is coming.
Titus 3:4-5 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
In direct contrast to the hateful, envious, disobedient mess that all people are in, God steps in to rescue us. God intervened in the mess of our sinful lives. When our lives were full of malice, envy, and hate – God stepped in with kindness, love, and mercy.
These qualities of God and his salvation are the polar opposite of the qualities we possessed.
And just in case we ever think that we maybe earned it, or we somehow convinced God to save us, or that we were “good enough” – Paul instructs us that God’s rescue was not because of righteous things we had done.
but because of his mercy – in direct contrast to any outside influence of our works, (because there wasn’t any), God’s motivation for saving humanity comes from his own mercy. Mercy is defined as the moral quality of feeling compassion and especially showing kindness toward someone in need. What better way to describe the entire human race?
We needed someone to feel compassion toward us, to act in kindness on our behalf, someone to deal with our need to have our sin nature resolved. We couldn’t do it – individually or corporately – and there was nothing about us that could influence God to act on our behalf.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
While we were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures…living in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
We couldn’t fix our mess. So God did for us what we could never do for ourselves.