25. “[God] saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy . . . by the Holy Spirit . . . through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Titus 3:
Christianity has been called a “Trinitarian” faith, and rightly so. The doctrine of the Trinity affirms that God has existed from all eternity as a community of being, comprised of the person of the Father, the person of the Holy Spirit, and the person of Jesus Christ. Somewhat surprisingly in the New Testament, there are relatively few explicit “Trinitarian passages,” but quantity is not needed for the reality to be present. Here is one such passage in which we see the dynamic of salvation described in explicitly Trinitarian terms. The Apostle Paul wants to be sure that Titus is clear that salvation is a free gift of God because God is good, not because we are good.
Salvation is possible because of the manifest mercy of God. There is certainly nothing wrong with good deeds and righteousness, but human effort can never merit the salvation we need. One cannot achieve personal redemption and transformation by picking oneself up by his or her own spiritual bootstraps. We need a Savior, and we cannot save ourselves.
The work of the Holy Spirit is vital for the salvation of a human soul. It is the work of the Spirit that both regenerates and renews the soul. Regeneration has to do with making something alive again or bringing new life to that which was dead. Renewing is not the same thing as renovating. Actual newness is brought about by the Spirit to work in us in redemption.
Without the person and work of Jesus Christ this renewal and regeneration of the Spirit would not be appropriated to us. Jesus Christ is described as a mediator between God and man (1Tim. 2:5). He is the perfect bridge needed for the blessings of God to come to us through him and by the Spirit. Every spiritual blessing that has been applied to us has come to us by the Spirit through the Son. What a marvel! The author of Hebrews describes Jesus as our great apostle and high priest (Heb. 3:1). Each of these roles is essential in our redemption. Jesus’ high priestly work communicates all our needs before the Father through the Spirit, and conversely, Jesus’ apostolic mediation communicates all of the blessings from the Father to us through Himself by the Holy Spirit.
Word for the Way:
Salvation is possible according to the mercy of God, by the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ our Savior.