“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:4-6).
Home improvements have the atmosphere of regeneration (“to change radically and for the better”--Webster). We had an old dirty carpet taken out and a hard wood floor installed. When we enter the house, we think, “Oh, how nice!” The atmosphere is a positive change for the better. I have also heard it said by a dear soul following a needed surgery, “It is like I have a new lease on life.” With the constant discomfort alleviated and their rundown condition removed, each moment is like a “breath of fresh air.”
However, the person with a new floor could still lament about the bathroom that needed remodeled, or the other room(s) with old carpet, or the many other imperfections any house might have. The person with improved health could still lament about hair with split ends, jagged fingernails, wrinkled skin, and/or the multitude of other possible physical imperfections. Oh, Lord, forgive us for not fully appreciating Your continual regeneration of the material things we live with and the body you have granted us.
God is concerned about our temporary life with all its components, “…even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Mt 10:30). To count the hairs on a head is a daunting task. The number of hairs being Divinely numbered seems insignificant from our human perspective. As Scripture explains God’s concern over such a thing, we are assured that bigger concerns are surely known and Divinely cared about.
We know from Scripture God’s greatest concern is mankind’s faith in Him. This concern is amplified in Jesus’ ministry; note these positive comments on faith: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah!” (Mt 16:17) ”Woman, great is your faith! (Mt 15:28) “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50). Jesus is also very concerned about the lack of faith. “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith” (Mt 8:26). “…will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Mt 6:30) “And He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief” (Mt 13:58).
In Scripture we have recorded some of Christ words, works, and institutions that He established to regenerate mankind. Receive God’s Word for it is the source of divine truth. Christ has established the assembly of the saints so we can receive the Word and the Word expounded upon during the worship service. In that worship service, we begin “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” As we hear those Words, let us eagerly remember our regeneration and renewal through the washing of Baptism. We receive further Words of God in the Introit (Psalms), the Old Testament Reading, the Epistle Reading, and the Holy Gospel received standing up in reverence to those words of Christ. We also are enriched with the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar. Thank you, dear Lord, for giving us “a breath of fresh air,” with a “new lease on life” as you regenerate us through Your Word and Sacraments.
The Lord be with you,
Pastor Sam Wiseman