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. But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour 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 (Tit. 3:3-5). These are Paul’s words to Titus about the salvation we have been given. They are profound words which go to the heart of God’s motivation in saving us. Through these words, we are shown the true nature of kindness and love.
Our situation before we come to Christ was absolutely catastrophic. Our understanding of the position of the unbeliever should reflect that they are living foolish lives and are trapped in a life of deception through all kinds of passions surging in their beings and through engaging in all kinds of pleasures. It is selfishness which drives such a worldly lifestyle. For us Christians we need to be reminded that we were in such a disastrous situation before we were saved. All who are unconverted to Christ are like those who have been cast overboard out at sea and are sinking in the turbulent waters. Spiritually the non-Christian is sinking into an eternal hell and they need to be saved.
The most poignant and profound need we have is to be saved. We need to be saved from our present empty, self-defeating lives which are leading us to eternal destruction. Into such a situation came the intervention of our great Saviour God. God came into this situation with all His kindness and love. He came to rescue us.
We need to remind ourselves here that we could not rescue ourselves. We read in Titus 3:5b that the Lord’s salvation came to us not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. As regards to the possibility of achieving salvation ourselves, we are all hopeless cases. We cannot save ourselves. It was into such hopeless situations that our loving God came with His mercy. He came, not undertaking the punishment that we deserve, but rather bringing the great hope and joy of salvation.
The motivation for this intervention is the fact that there is kindness and love in the Lord’s heart. He is full of kindness and love. However, those tender dispositions did not just remain inside Him. Rather, they have flowed out of His heart. They have appeared. And how have they appeared? They have appeared in and through Jesus Christ. When we see our Saviour we see the kindness and love of God displayed towards us.
Throughout the Old Testament God had relentlessly prophesied about His plan to intervene in the situation of mankind, in kindness and love through His Saving Messiah. The coming of Jesus Christ into the world saw the fulfilment of everything anticipated in the Old Testament. How we should be praising God that He is not an absent detached deity. Rather, He is our everlastingly kind and loving God who in Emmanual. In Jesus Christ, God has come close to us; He has come into human flesh in order to save us.
Here is true kindness and true love. Here is God working to act in such a way so that the action meets the need of the recipient. God in sending His Son sent One to provide salvation and in doing this He met our deepest need. If we want to know how kind and loving our Saviour is we look at Jesus and we look at His finished saving work on the cross, and as we do so we fall down with worship and thanksgiving to see how kind and how loving our God is.
The word kindness speaks of a tender attitude that brings blessings and benefits to others. “Love” tells us of his love for men in all their sin and hopelessness. God through Jesus came with such kindness and love and He acted at our most real and deepest point of need. He saved us from ourselves, our sin and eternal destruction. Praise Him!
Sadly our kindness and love so often is not like God’s. We are well intentioned, but ineffective because we do not focus upon bringing benefit to the intended recipient. We go wrong because, unlike our God, we focus on what we want to do and what we think will benefit the one we want to help. Rather, what we need to do is focus on the need of the other person and then bring our kindness and love tangibly and helpfully to them. This is the way our God works and so should we. Our salvation is the most profound and beautiful display of this.
Accordingly, let us be people who think about our ways, as we seek to distribute kindness and love to one another. As an example, to buy someone who has no interest in cookery, all kinds of cookery books and utensils as presents is totally inappropriate. You may think in your head that these are such great presents and you are showing such kindness and love. However, you have completely failed because you have not considered the recipient.
Oh,how marvellous is the love and kindness of our God which has determined that we should be saved. Let us be thoughtful about imitating our God in our love and kindness.
(Taken from the Feltham Evangelical Church Newsletter of February 2015)