Thursday, May 1, 2008

Good Works and the Gospel, Part 2

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 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, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.--Titus 3:4-7 (ESV)

We are saved through washing, not through works.

In Titus 3:4-7, Paul tells the story of the Gospel. God showed His kindness and goodness, He washed us with His Spirit, and He justified us--so that we might have eternal life. Note one thing, though. He didn't save us through good works. The Gospel is not, "God gives us power to do good works and through his sanctifying grace, we are saved." In fact, Paul doesn't even use the word works at all in this passage. Instead, he uses words like "washing" and "regeneration" and "renewal."

The most interesting word here (I think) is regeneration. It comes from the Latin regenerare, meaning "create again." When we are saved, God re-creates us. God does not create evil beings. Therefore, regenerated people are not guilty. When Paul says we're washed with regeneration and renewal, it means we are like Adam and Eve before they sinned. We are sinless, pure, innocent.

So, good works are not the means of salvation of the Gospel story.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Ya! Just as if I'd always obeyed!