The grace of God the Son
There was a point in time when the kindness and love of God ‘appeared’. Look at verse 4: ‘But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us.’ The kindness and love of God has been there all along, but there was a moment when they appeared in history. And that moment was the first Christmas day.
Jesus is the kindness and love of God made visible. Now we could see it. We’d heard about it over the centuries, but now we could touch it. God has always loved us, but now his love reaches a climax as he gives what is most precious to him, his own Son.
Just how great is the kindness and love of God? Look at the crib. And look at the cross. God gives his own Son, his beloved Son.
Paul goes on: ‘[God] saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.’ (3:5b-7)
When we chose to ignore and disobey God, we became God’s enemies. We became rebels under his judgment. Our future was condemnation and death.
And, before there could be reconciliation, God had to deal with that disobedience. The penalty of our rebellion had to be paid. The sentence of death had to be passed.
And so in his kindness and love, God the Father sent his Son to die in our place.
As a result, first, we have been justified. Verse 7 says: ‘… having been justified by his grace …’ It means ‘declared right’. A trial is taking place and all the evidence is against us. The verdict must surely be ‘Guilty’. But Jesus intervenes. The sentence is passed on him. And so the verdict for us is no condemnation. We are justified.
Second, as a result, we will receive life. Verse 7 says we have justified by his grace so that ‘we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.’ Our future was eternal death. Now our future is eternal life.
Jesus gets what we deserve: condemnation and death. And we get what Jesus deserves: reward and life.
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includes Tim Chester’s books