Monday, November 5, 2012

i like big BUTS (because God cannot lie)

Titus 3:3-8

3 For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another.
4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love
for mankind appeared,
5 He saved us
not by works of righteousness that we had done,
but according to His mercy,
through the washing of regeneration
and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
6 He poured out this Spirit on us abundantly
through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 so that having been justified by His grace,
we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.
8 This saying is trustworthy. I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed God might be careful to devote themselves to good works. These are good and profitable for everyone.

How big is the “but” in the above passage? It is the difference between darkness and light, helpless and helped, drowned and resuscitated. Paul’s major theme and charge to Titus is that the Christians over whom he has been placed shepherd need to devote themselves to good works. Paul is in no way making a theological statement regarding soteriology. He is not insisting that one must work to be saved. He is exhorting, however, that those who are saved must devote themselves to the hard work of a living faith.

I love that verses 4-7 appear to have been an early church creed or saying that was often repeated or used for purposes of catechizing new converts to Christianity. It is a simple, concise saying that Paul states is trustworthy. Here is a doctrine on which to lean. From this doctrine, Paul exhorts and encourages others to do good works. You start with the trustworthy saying and end in good deeds.

“He saved us.”

Does not that simple phrase say so much? He is the object. He is the Actor. Saved is the verb. Saving is what He did. He did it already. He did it for us. Us is the object of the sentence. We are the receivers. We are those being saved. He is talking to those who have placed faith in Christ. In forsaking their own efforts and by faith trusting Christ’s provision on their behalf, they/we have been saved. God has done it.

"He saved us."

I also love how this early creed bears witness to the triune LORD. The kindness of God our Savior appeared and renewed us by His Holy Spirit through the life, death, and resurrection work of Jesus Christ our Savior. Notice how all three are mentioned as conspirators in the effort to save us. All three of them equally god in essence and unique in Person and function.

Lastly, note this beautiful phrase, “justified by His grace.” We are not justified in the courtroom of God’s justice by making a solid argument. We are not justified by the failure of the Accuser to bring legitimate evidence against us. We are not justified because the Judge was corrupted, perverted, or indifferent. We are justified by His grace.

By grace He paid our debt.
By grace He credits us with righteousness.
By grace He seeks us.
By grace He rebirths us.
By grace He renews our hearts.
By grace He empowers us to walk in His ways.
By grace He found us.
By grace He keeps us.

We are justified by His grace.

If you also like big BUTS and you cannot lie, you might enjoy these. But don’t have take my word for it.

Can you think of any other big ol’ BUTS in the Bible that should be included? 
Did I forget your favorite BUT?


  1. did you see emily vardeman posted on this recently as well? big buts must be the "in" thing right now.

  2. i did. big BUTS are in like flynn. whoever that is. big ol' butt flynn, i guess.