There are two ways of approaching the doctrines of the Scriptures. One way is to collect all the data throughout the Bible into logical categories (called “systematic theology”). The other way is to work through individual books of the Bible, collecting the data on a particular subject (this is called “biblical theology,” although the term is used in other ways in less than conservative circles). When we ask, what does the epistle of Titus say about God the Holy Spirit, we are taking a kind of biblical theology approach. Our conviction in these posts is that, while some believers overemphasize the Spirit, others overlook Him. We want to do neither, but long to have a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity.
What do we find when we unit-read (read straight through at one sitting) the epistle of Titus? We find that there is precious little reference to the Spirit of God in Titus! But here’s the one reference that we do have —
Ch. 3 – 3 At one time we too 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. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 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, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
Okay. This has got to be one of my favorite New Testament texts. Let’s make several observations:
1. The Spirit of God is intimately involved in moving us from the category of being lost to the category of being found, from darkness to light, from being filthy in our sins to being washed through the rebirth and renewal that the Spirit provides!
2. HOW did He save us? The text says, “through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (v. 5). Jesus makes it quite clear in John 3 that being “born again” is a sovereign work of the Spirit. Here His work is described as a washing and a renewal. Do you feel washed and renewed?
3. And the Spirit of God is described almost as water from God. We read of “the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (v. 6). This “pouring out” was done generously! Aren’t you thankful for the generosity of the Father and the Son in pouring out the Spirit upon us?
4. This pouring out of the Spirit upon us seems to be equated with “having been justified by his grace” in verse 7. That’s salvation, my friends. And we are not to simply enjoy the Spirit’s action in our lives — we are devote ourselves to doing what is good (v. 8). Are you planning on being devoted today? (to be continued)