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“who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” (Titus 2:14; NASB)

A few years ago, my wife and I discovered a television show on The Learning Channel which quickly became a favorite — “Junkyard Wars.”  The premise was quite simple.  Take two teams of three people, give each team an “expert,” take them to a junkyard, give them ten hours and access to great tools, and tell them to build something from the scrap pile.  And they’ll build virtually anything:  amphibious vehicles, windmills, steam-powered cars, cannons, combines, and remote control airplanes, to name a few that we’ve seen.  [Of course, some of these creations may not look like what you have in mind when you hear the names.]

What was fascinating about the show was how inventive the teams were in creating new uses for old parts.  Something that was discarded as useless was salvaged and made into something useful.

That reminds me of what God has done for me.  He has redeemed me, and every believer, from unrighteous and ungodly deeds to be possessed and used by Him to accomplish good (Titus 2:14).

My sin had made me an enemy of God (Rom. 5:10a), incapable of doing anything useful for Him.  In fact, my sin had killed me spiritually (Eph. 2:1).  Nothing in my life was of any more value than the scrap heap on “Junkyard Wars.”  Then God intervened, not with an assortment of tools and duct tape to piece together a new contraption that might work for an hour or two, but with the advent of His Son who renews us eternally.

From lawless, selfish, empty and useless works, He has permanently bought us out of the bondage of sin, adopted us as His eternal children (Gal. 4:7), and even given us an ability and hunger to do righteous and good works for His glory.

This is the wonder of salvation:  not only that we’ve been forgiven, not only that we are indwelt by the Spirit of God, not only that we’ve been adopted into God’s family, not only that we have new relationships in the church, but that we have been equipped to do deeds of righteousness — to please God — which was impossible prior to our salvation.  What we were required to do but could not do before Christ’s death (Mt. 5:48), we have now been empowered to do by the freedom that comes through Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

What wondrous words, “that He might redeem us…”