In The Discipline of Grace, Jerry Bridges wrote:
“You can be sure of one thing though: When you set yourself to pursue holiness, you will begin to realize what an awful sinner you are. And if you are not firmly rooted in the gospel and have not learned to preach it to yourself every day, you will soon become discouraged and will slack of in your pursuit of holiness (Bridges, 60).”
So, how can we become more firmly rooted in the Gospel? You could do no better than to meditate on Titus 3:3-7. It is one of the richest summaries of the doctrine of salvation. Notice how many doctrines Paul references in these verses.
|3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.
|Lostness / Total Depravity. Sin has destroyed the relationship with God that every man and woman needs. All are born in sin: spiritually dead.|
|4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,||Mercy. Salvation is at the initiative of God. Jesus came into history and became humanity, see 5b.|
|5 he saved us,||God saves. He delivers sinners from being objects of His anger and eternal punishment.|
|not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy,||Grace. Salvation has nothing to do with our righteousness, works, conduct or what we earn. Salvation is based on grace (see v. 7 below), God’s unmerited favor. Grace is the overarching terms that includes all that God offers freely in Christ to save the lost.|
|by the washing of regeneration||Regeneration is God’s changing of believers when they are saved so they are completely made new and have new direction for their lives.|
|and renewal of the Holy Spirit,||Sanctification is God’s setting apart of believers and the Holy Spirit working in their lives so that their lives reflect that they are justified.|
|6 whom he poured out on us richly||Pentecost was the very important day that the Holy Spirit was poured out on believers. All believers are baptized in the Holy Spirit. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not presented as a second work of the Holy Spirit that happens at some point after salvation.|
|through Jesus Christ our Savior,||Atonement is the work which is needed to reconcile sinners to God. Christians can have a relationship with God the Father because Jesus paid the penalty for their sins.|
|7 so that being justified by his grace||Justification is God’s declaration that believers are from that time on righteous and no longer guilty of their sins.|
|we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.||Hope is the certain expectation for every believer that Jesus will one day return and that we will spend eternity with him where there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. We will share with Him in the great adventure that will never end, in which every chapter is better than the one before.|