My box is too small

"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 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,..." Titus 3:4-5.

It's interesting how we zero in on a few verses and build our entire interpretations around them. Just like I'm doing here. But I always find it interesting when I stumble across simple statements about salvation expressed in terms other than the usual chosen by evangelicals. He saved us because of his mercy. I suppose it isn't very revolutionary, because after all, what is not wanting us to be punished if not mercy, but so often that language focuses on the punishment and price-paying, instead of skipping past it all, to place all the focus on mercy. We used to be so full of sin and wrongdoing, but with kindness and love and mercy, he saved us in spite of it all.

And the next sentence: not through shed blood, not through death, or punishment -- not that he didn't undergo those things, but it's not the way the gospel is framed here -- but through washing, rebirth, and renewal; and the actor mentioned is not even Jesus, but the Holy Spirit.

What I marvel at here is not that we've gotten it wrong all this time, but that there are so many ways to talk about how God has saved us. Beyond all the analogies, object lessons, and contemporary images we might come up with, even Paul found myriad ways to talk about God's great love and saving mercy.

My box, even after trading it in for a bigger one, is still too small for God.


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