|artwork by Tamara Peterson|
Tamara Peterson’s amazingly creative artwork always inspires me. I noticed in this beautiful piece she incorporated two small pieces of the pages from a hymnal with the lyrics of one of my favorite hymns, radiating the glory of God with her stunning upward brush strokes.
To God be the glory, great things He hath done; So loved He the world that He gave us His Son, Who yielded His life an atonement for sin, And opened the life gate that all may go in. O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood, To every believer the promise of God; The vilest offender who truly believes, That moment from Jesus a pardon receives. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Let the earth hear His voice! Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Let the people rejoice! O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son, And give Him the glory, great things He hath done. As I worshipped with To God Be The Glory, performed by the Royal Albert Hall audience and stage choirs, I was inspired to do a word study of Titus 3:5:
NASB: He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.
NLT: He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit.
Phillips: he saved us - not by virtue of any moral achievements of ours, but by the cleansing power of a new birth and the moral renewal of the Holy Spirit.
Wuest: not by deeds of uprightness which we performed [in our unsaved state], but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.
Young's Literal: (not by works that are in righteousness that we did but according to His kindness,) He did save us, through a bathing of regeneration, and a renewing of the Holy Spirit.
Saved (sozo) has the basic meaning of rescuing one from great peril. Additional nuances include to protect, keep alive, preserve life, deliver, heal, be made whole. Sozo means that He delivered us, rescuing us from danger, loss and ultimately from eternal destruction. He daily preserves us, making us whole by the renewing by the Holy Spirit. He saved us is aorist tense which records the saving act as a past fact. The us here is all who have accepted salvation in Christ. We now possess salvation "past tense," each of us having been saved at a certain point in time when we confessed "with our mouth Jesus as Lord, and believed in our heart that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9) He delivered us that we might be "made complete" in Christ (Colossians 2:10) "for of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace." (John 1:16).
Mercy (eleos) is “the self-moved, spontaneous loving kindness of God which causes Him to deal in compassion and tender affection with the miserable and distressed.” Eleos is the outward manifestation of pity which assumes need (which is all children of Adam) on the part of him who receives it and resources adequate to meet need on part of him who shows the mercy. Eleos is kindness or concern shown for someone in serious need. Mercy implies compassion that forbears punishing even when justice demands compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power. God’s mercy, His loving and benevolent pity for the misery brought about by our sin, precedes His saving grace and continues to be actively demonstrated after the work of that grace. God’s mercy is extended for the alleviation of the consequences of sin. Grace identifies the free nature of salvation, that which is unmerited and without obligation. Eleos is the application of grace and reminds us that redemptive freedom rescued us from the pathetic condition of our sinfulness. In John 3:16, God loved in mercy and gave in grace.
Pastor Matthew Henry comments on eleos demonstrated in the parable of the prodigal son: "His father saw him—there were eyes of mercy; He ran to meet him—there were legs of mercy; He put his arms round his neck—there were arms of mercy; He kissed him—there were kisses of mercy; He said to him—there were words of mercy; Bring here the best robe—there were deeds of mercy; Wonders of mercy—all mercy! Oh, what a God of mercy He is! Oh, what a precious reception for one of the chief of sinners!"
Greek scholar Kenneth S. Wuest commenting on the use of paliggenesia in Titus 3:5 writes: “Regeneration is described as a washing here. The Word of God is conceived of as a water-bath cleansing the life by putting out of it things that are sinful, and introducing into it, things that are right. In our present text, regeneration is spoken of as a bath in that the impartation of the divine nature results in the cleansing of the life by the fact that the new life from God provides the believer with both the desire and power to do the will of God and to refuse to fulfill the evil nature whose power has been broken by the identification of the believer with the Lord Jesus in His death on the Cross."
Greek scholar Kenneth S. Wuest writes: "Anakainosis is a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better. This is accomplished through the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Who when definitely, and intelligently, and habitually yielded to puts sin out of the believer’s life and produces His own fruit. He does that by controlling the mental processes of the believer.”
Precious Savior, forgive me for getting wrapped up in myself and my tasks and forgetting to give You the glory for all the great things You have done in my life and in the world around me. Create in me a heart of worship. This day I give honor to You and worship You for the glory of Your name, for the splendor of Your holiness! Thank You for the free gift of salvation, that I am justified on the basis of Your finished work on the Cross. Thank You that, right now, I am under the completely sufficient imputed righteousness of Christ. Because I have placed my trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, I am redeemed by Your precious blood. The threat of failure, judgment, and condemnation has been removed. Knowing that God’s love for me and approval of me will never be determined by my performance is the most encouraging promise to which I cling—To God be the glory, what great things You have done! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Look In—as you meditate on Titus 3:5 pray to see how you might apply it to your life.
Look Out—as you meditate on Titus 3:5 pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others.
* If you liked this post you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ