A Comprehensive Salvation

(Part 10 of the Sermon Series, “How We Can Impact Our World for Christ.”)

We started in Tit. 2:1 about “How We Should Live for Christ.” We end it today in Tit. 3:3-8 about “Why We Should Live for Christ.” In vv. 3-8, Paul explained the reason for godly living. We were slaves to sin once, but God saved us in order to do good works.

Paul then gave a summary explanation about how God saved us in vv. 4-7. I call it a “comprehensive salvation.” In one stroke, Paul gives a definitive statement about the work of God in our salvation.

We note three things about this comprehensive salvation—(1) The Point of Salvation (v. 4); (2) The Procedure of Salvation (vv. 5-7); and (3) The Purpose of Salvation (v. 8).

The Point of Salvation

The point of salvation is when the goodness and love of God appeared to us through the gospel. “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us” (Tit. 3:4-5). The “goodness” of God (chrestotes) refers to His “kindness, generosity.” (Gingrich) (Eph. 2:7) The words “loving kindness” is actually only one word in the Greek, philanthropia, “love for humanity, kindness, generosity.” (Gingrich); “love of mankind, affection for people.” (Louw-Nida) It comes from two root words—philos meaning “love and affection” (HELPS Word Studies) and anthropos meaning “mankind.” In the NKJV and NASB, it is translated only as “love.”

Note two things. Paul uses the word philos for the love of God toward us, not agape.[1] God’s love is philos love—love and affection for people. Also, the noun philanthropia refers to God’s love for humankind in general, and not just for the elect. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people” (Tit. 2:11, emphasis added). God’s love appeared to the world when He gave His Son (John 3:16). God’s love is for everyone in the world, including every sinner.

Paul said, “When the goodness and loving kindness of God appeared, he saved us” (vv. 4-5). God showed His kindness and love to us by saving us from our sins. That is the nature of the kindness and love of God. It is a saving love.

Our God is not a God who just sits on His throne loving people while doing nothing to save them from their sins. Our God is not a God who merely watches us from a distance, oblivious to the pain of this world. God so loved the world that He gave His Son, Jesus Christ. Whoever believes in Him shall be saved from sin and death. God’s love is a saving love.

[1] In Tit. 2:2, he used agape, “love,” for older men. But in the next breath, in Tit. 2:4, he used philandrous, “love their husbands” for young women. Then in Tit. 3:4, he used philanthropia, “loving kindness,” for God. Thus, in Titus, Paul exchanges the word philos and agape, using philos for God and agape for people. Divine love is not necessarily agape love.

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