“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. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:4,5).
Christmas is about the salvation of God appearing on earth. Jesus was and is the fullness of God’s love arriving at the perfect time.
In the fullness of time, the “love of God our Savior appeared” to people who did not deserve His love. Not in the slightest.
In the preceding verses of Titus 3, Paul reminds us that we were very undeserving of God’s mercy. He says that we 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.
We should all therefore be humble as we live peaceable and considerate lives.
The humble beginnings of Christ the Lord ought to compel us to model His life as light to our neighbors. The fact that we received His love only by His mercy ought to humble us this Christmas season. “He saved us, not because of righteousness things we have done.” One of my favorite Christmas carols is Joy to the World. Verse three says:
He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders, of His love.
We can do no better in witness or worship than to proclaim these truths. There is nothing and no one who compares to Jesus. In a world racked with war, strife, sin, and darkness, my prayer and living ambition is to declare the wonders of God’s love this way. Human history is a history of war. It’s true! And I, for one, hate it immensely. I’ve often dreamed of standing before the most powerful rulers of our day (both men and women) and saying, “Compare yourself to God’s Son. Try to match this One who ‘rules the world with truth and grace,’ Who ‘makes the nations prove, the glories of His righteousness.’ Top that if you can. You can’t! I can’t!”
Therefore, a measure of humility would go a long way toward peace on earth this Christmas.
I won’t be standing at the rostrum of the United Nations anytime soon, but if I were to have audience of that nature, I would “make the nations prove the glories of His righteousness.” And the wonders of His love. There is no better witness or worship than this: Jesus! The wonder of His love.
Written by Clancy Cruise. Clancy served as the Charis Fellowship executive director from 2016–2019. He is the lead pastor at Marysville Grace Church in central Ohio.