Trustworthy Statements Series
“He Saved Us”
3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and
pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4 But when
the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the
basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by
the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon
us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be
made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy statement; and
concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God
will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.
For the past four weeks we have been looking at the trustworthy statements recorded in
the books of First and Second Timothy. This morning we come to the fifth and final
trustworthy statement found in the book of Titus. Titus was a Gentile who came to faith in
Christ through the ministry of the Apostle Paul. (Tit.1.4) Titus was a trusted companion on
Paul’s missionary journeys. He was probably at the Jerusalem Council as an example of a
born-again Gentile Christian. (Acts 15.2) Later he was sent by Paul to comfort the church of
Several years later Titus traveled with Paul to the island of Crete, where Titus would be left
behind to continue and strengthen the church. Paul writes in chapter one, “For this reason I
left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city.”
(1.5) Knowing the difficult situations in both Corinth and Crete, we can infer that Titus was
an insightful man who could handle problems with grace.
In our text this morning Paul uses a trustworthy statement to remind Titus of the beauty of
the Gospel. These trustworthy statements were developed by the early church and were
used in public worship services. What is interesting is that the Apostle Paul is inspired by
the Holy Spirit to incorporate five of these trustworthy statements into the inspired pages
of holy Scripture. In our text this morning Paul encourages Titus to stress the importance of
these truths of the Gospel so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in
good deeds to those need to hear it. (3.8)
Before we drive into our text this morning, I want you to see that Paul uses the plural
pronouns of “we” and “us” in describing the glorious Gospel. Paul writes, “For we also once
were foolish . . . He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done . . . renewing by the
Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us . . . we would be made heirs.” Yes, Paul is an Apostle
but beyond that he is a fellow believer in Christ. What Paul is describing is what he had
experienced in his own life and what every believer has experience throughout the ages.
Paul writes as one who has in his own life experienced the truth of the Gospel.
Today’s trustworthy statement is the longest of the five recorded in Scripture. Today’s
trustworthy statement starts in verse four and continues through verse seven. In many
ways today’s statement is an expanded version of the first trustworthy statement we
looked at together in First Timothy chapter one that reads, “It is a trustworthy statement,
deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” (ITim.1.15)
Reflecting On Our Former Condition (3.3)
To understand the beauty of the Gospel a person must first reflect on their former fallen
and sinful condition. This type of reflection makes the beauty of the gospel shine brighter.
Paul states what we Christians “also once were” in seven characteristics. For we also once
were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending
our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. The first and primary characteristic
of those without Christ is that they are “foolish.” The term “foolish” describes those who are
“without spiritual understanding.” As Paul mentions elsewhere, we were darkened in our
understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them.
Living our lives without any spiritual comprehension of the Gospel caused us to be
disobedient to God, led astray into worldly ideas, thoughts, and philosophies, held captive
to various lusts and pleasures, spending our lives seeking ill-will towards others, grudging
their success, being full of hate, and displaying hatred towards others.
Now, you might be saying to yourself, “That wasn’t me.” “I wasn’t that bad.” Well, you might
have not been as bad as you could have been, but the reality is that our fallen condition
affects every part of our lives. Without the regenerating and renewing work of the Holy
Spirit every part of our being is contaminated with sin. This is what the late theologian R.C.
Sproul called “radical corruption.” A corruption of sin that permeates the core of our being.
Jesus said, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have
not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Lk.5.31-32) If you don’t consider
yourself sick with sin. If you consider yourself righteous by religious works. Then you are
basically saying that you don’t need the Gospel and you don’t need a Savior. Jesus did not
come to save the righteous. Jesus came to save sinners.
Acknowledging our radical corruption is the first step towards true repentance. Jesus told a
parable about two men who went into the temple to pray, one was self-righteous trusting
in his religious routines and considered himself better than others. While the other man
wasn’t willing to lift his eyes to heaven saying, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” Jesus
concludes the parable telling us that it was this man, the second man, the one who
confessed that he was a sinner in need of God’s mercy that he was the one who left the
temple justified by faith. (Lk.18.10-14) Like the prodigal son we must return to the Father
saying, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be
called your son.” (Lk.15.21) When we do that, we will experience the mercy and compassion
of God to save our souls.
The backdrop of our former condition in verse three brings the light of the Father’s
kindness and love. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind
appeared, He saved us . . . (4-5a). Thanks be to God! This phrase “love for mankind” is one
word in the Greek. It is the same word as our “philanthropy” which refers to showing
compassion, benevolence, and generosity towards those in need. In this case this
philanthropy is not referring to the kindness of a wealthy individual or organization, it is
referring to divine philanthropy. Notice it is His love for mankind. This is God’s compassion,
God’s kindness, God’s generosity towards the foolish, the disobedient, the deceived, the
addicted, the envious, and the hateful.
And how did God our Savior demonstrate His divine philanthropy to us? His love for
mankind appeared. All the New Testament occurrences of this word “appeared” refers to
Christ’s appearing on earth. (2Thes.2.8; ITim.6.14; 2tim.1.10, 4.1, 4.8; Tit.2.13) Brothers
and sisters, God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us. (Rom.5.8) God our Savior demonstrated His divine philanthropy by the
appearing of . . . Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed.
Two Prepositional Phrases
The trustworthy statement includes two prepositional phrases to assure the true
understanding of the Gospel. He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in
righteousness, but according to His mercy. (3.5a) The first prepositional phrase is a strong
statement that our salvation has nothing to do with any contribution of our own; “not on
the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness.” And the second is a strong
affirmation that our salvation is solely based on God’s mercy; “but according to His mercy.”
God’s Spiritual Work
With the understanding that our salvation has nothing to do with us and everything to do
with God the trustworthy statement then describes the spiritual work that God does to
bring His salvation; by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom
He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. (3.5b-6)
First God does the spiritual work of regeneration. When He saved us . . . by the washing of
regeneration. This work of regeneration is the instantaneous change that takes place in our
inner man. Literally it means “new birth,” or being “born again.” As Jesus told Nicodemus,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” “Do not
marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” (Jn.3.3, 7) This work of regeneration is a
spiritual work that must take place in a person’s life to see the kingdom of God.
The song “He Touched Me” by the Gaither Vocal Band captures the idea:
Shackled by a heavy burden
‘Neath a load of guilt and shame
Then the hand of Jesus touched me
And now I am no longer the same
He touched me, oh, He touched me
And oh, the joy that floods my soul
Something happened, and now I know
He touched me, and made me whole
After God’s work of regeneration comes the spiritual work of renewing by the Holy Spirit.
Whereas God work of regeneration is a single act, the Holy Spirit’s work of renewing is a
life-long activity. This ongoing renewing is what Paul describes when he tells us, do not be
conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Rom.12.2a)
God’s spiritual work of renewal is the continual surrender to the Holy Spirit in the life of
This work of regeneration and renewal is poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our
Savior. (3.6) This phrase poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior makes
God’s spiritual work of regeneration and renewal something that every believer can expect
to be lavished upon their life. Not just a trinkle of God’s grace. Not just a good pour of God’s
grace. But an endless waterfall of God’s grace upon the lives of those in Christ. By the
kindness of God’s mercy and love through our Savior, Jesus Christ, we have been declared
justified (just as if I have never sinned) in God’s sight and made an heir to eternal life. (3.7)
This is a trustworthy statement!