Sunday, 24 June 2018
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, Titus 3:4
Paul’s words of verse 3 spoke of the disobedience of believers prior to coming to Christ, including all of the perverse and hateful things they participated in. Now he begins to contrast that to the greatness of God, and what he has done for us, even while we were in that detestable and unrighteous state. This contrast begins to be seen immediately with the word, “But.” It is Paul’s way of saying, “We were this way, BUT! Let me now tell you about the greatness of God’s love.” And so he begins with, “But when the kindness and the love of God…”
We were “foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.” Despite this, God was still willing to overlook what we had done because of what He had accomplished for us apart from anything we had done. It was an act of kindness, and it was an act of love. The Greek word translated as “kindness” is used only by Paul. It signifies “meeting real needs, in God’s way, in His timing” (HELPS Word Studies). Our needs were met, and love was poured out by “God our Savior.” The Greek reads, “the Savior of us, God.”
God, meaning God the Father, is contrasted to Jesus our Savior here. What this means is that God the Father initiated the process of salvation, and He appointed His Son to accomplish the work to be done. It is this kindness and love of God which then was directed “toward man.” This takes us immediately back to the thought of the previous verse. It was not just toward man, but toward fallen man as Paul described. We were in a wretched state before God, and yet God directed His kindness and love towards us anyway. It is this unfathomable display of God’s unlimited grace which Paul says has “appeared.”
That which has appeared will be qualified in the next verse, and then it will be stated in the verse after that. But we know who it is that has appeared. It is Christ Jesus our Lord. Thank God for Him. The words here are reflective of what Paul says in Romans 5:8 –
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Life application: There is no merit in our salvation. We were as far from God as we could possibly be. The infinite gap could never be bridged, nor could a ladder rise so high. Only God could make the connection once again. As this was an act of His grace, let us never boast that it is otherwise. All glory is to be laid at the feet of Christ Jesus our Lord. God’s kindness and love have appeared and saved us.
Lord God, we were in a wretched state; cut off and without hope in this world. And yet, despite this, Your kindness and love towards us were made manifest in the giving of Your Son for our sin. Your love toward us while we were still sinners is marvelous, and we have received it as such. Let us not now squander that glorious salvation which You have wrought. But help us to live out that gift of life with gratitude and thanks which is displayed in honor towards You. Amen.