Wednesday, July 13 – Titus 3:5
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we did in righteousness, but in accordance with His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.
Every year around Christmas time, a familiar sight appears in storefront windows, TV shows, greeting cards, holiday songs, and everywhere in between: Santa Claus! Children are warned of one of the biggest aspects of the Santa story—he keeps a list of everyone’s deeds, good and bad, and gives gifts according to his list. It is said that every child that ends up on Santa’s “naughty list” ends up with a lump of coal as their only gift. Believing someone is keeping track of their deeds can be a motivator for many children to stay on their best behavior to earn gifts. However, most of us don’t know anyone who only received coal as a gift. Whether good or bad, nearly every child who practices this tradition receives gifts that are freely given to them.
We may not keep a list of our deeds, but somewhere along the way may have tried to earn the gift that we were given. If you are a follower of Jesus, you are free from this. The gift of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross was costly, but it has been given freely. The gospel is not about what you have done for God but what He has done to reconcile you. Our deeds will never measure up, but every day, we are renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit. So many times we come to faith freely but begin to feel as though we have to earn to keep the gift of God. Good deeds are not things we do to earn faith but things God has given us to do with our faith. We do things like read the Bible and pray out of adoration and gratitude that God is using those things to form us more and more into His likeness.
- When have you been tempted to view yourself as a good person who deserved a relationship with God?
- What changes in our actions when we recognize that our faith is not based on our deeds?
- Pray and ask God to change you from trying to earn your faith to living out of gratitude for your faith.