By Rev. Jordan Gowing — CrossWinds Church, EFCA, Spencer
The other day I was talking with my 6-year-old, who asked one of Christianity’s massive questions: “Why does God save people?”
How would you answer this question? Surely there are lots of “right answers,” according to the Bible. We would be in line with the Bible if we said, “Because he loves people” or “Because he wants to fix a broken creation” or “Because in his mercy, he knows we have no other hope.”
And yet perhaps one of the most reasons the Bible gives for why God saves people is found in the book of Titus: “who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14 ESV).
Notice the three reasons Titus gives for why Jesus chooses to save people. First, it was for us. Jesus gave himself for those who are now his adopted brothers and sisters in the family of God. He knew that we were trapped in sin (lawlessness), and he gave himself freely to free us.
There’s a second reason here: why does he save people? It was for himself. Jesus didn’t just die to save you from an unthinkable future. He did it because Jesus wants a pure and holy people for his own. Have you ever considered that Jesus didn’t just save you because you were in desperate need of saving but because he wants a group of people who will live for all eternity, holy, pure, his own?
Titus 2:14 gives us one final reason: Jesus saves people for good. There is a purpose to the new life you have been given in Jesus: a life that is zealous for good works. In the gospel, Jesus transforms our hearts and affections. The people of God are not just to be a people who begrudgingly do good works or who only do good works when it’s convenient for them. They should be a people who are zealous for good works.
That word “zealous” is a powerful one, because there’s no way to excuse it away or rationalize it away, is there? “Zealous” is the opposite of “rational!” When I think of “zealous,” I think of the thing that people are known for. What you are “zealous” for is the first thing that people think of when they think of you.
What about you? When people think of you, what is the first thing that comes to mind? That you are zealous about sports? About physical fitness? About the latest and greatest technology or a political affiliation? If you are a Christian, one of the reasons Jesus saves people is so that they would be consumed with a passion for good works. What are you zealous for?