But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy… – Titus 3:4-5a
So today it’s our turn to be that house without air-conditioning. And, no, the technician can’t get here till around 6:00 this afternoon. It’s a good thing the temperature here is only slated to get up to 97!
Joking aside, a house without air conditioning in the summer here is brutal. I pray, pray, pray that the problem is a simple fix, and that we’ll be able to enter the weekend (and all those many guests) with a system that actually works.
But it makes me think – once again – about how heavily I rely on the complex infrastructure that lies outside of my moment-to-moment consciousness, undergirding my experience of life. Electricity; a fresh water supply; our refrigerator; groceries that magically appear at the store just when I need them; garbage that disappears every Friday morning; the supply of fuel that runs my car; air conditioning; the people who take responsibility for guarding my freedom, keeping the streets safe, maintaining this way of life I – we all – take so much for granted….
If it was all left up to me, Rebekah and I would be living in a tent somewhere. Maybe I’d figure out how to put together some kind of a log cabin. Eventually I’d manage to secure and filter a water supply. I’d probably learn how to handle fire. But, honestly, left to my own devices I’m close to verging on helpless.
MERCY! This is what Paul is talking about in his letter to Titus. Here’s my paraphrase: When goodness and love showed up, immersing us in light and life, we were rescued from our consummate failure to earn favor with God by our own efforts; it was nothing we could possibly pull off ourselves – but all mercy and grace.
We could work, work, work to be perfect – rule-keeping people – filling our life with religious practices designed to elicit the approval of God; or we could simply say “yes” to Jesus, accept the mercy and grace offered in the name of love, and then live transformed lives in grateful response, demonstrating faithfulness to God and love-in-action to God’s children.
In love, and because of love, mercy, and grace – DEREK
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is sure. – Titus 3:4-8