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, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Upon my 16th birthday, my parents drove me to the DMV to obtain my driver’s license. The nerve-wracking hours of navigating cones and roadways in that large 1980s Caprice Classic station wagon, the intense book study of rules/regulations… my eyes were on the prize of freedom. Until I heard the words, “You’ve failed your vision test.” How could this be? I did all that was asked. I completed all of the work!
Soon to be revealed, was that my vision of the world was actually too small. A later visit to the eye doctor literally opened my eyes to a world beyond myself. The 1s or 2s, the 3s or 4s on the dials uncovered details around the exam room I was unaware of. The light filtering through my new contacts brought clarity to office woodgrains and wallpaper design to tree leaves and tulip petals outside the windowpane. Always there, but not experienced fully.
In a world of darkness, humanity longs for light. It longs for a Savior to be revealed and filter creation in a new light, making it whole… on earth as it is in heaven…
God’s gracious gift of hope and eternal life through the birth of Jesus brings us such transformation. This immeasurably more “regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” is lavishly poured upon us, refining and purifying us into his likeness. He siphons to the surface our brokenness, our blindness, in order for full healing to transcend. A merciful work no human alone could ever attain.
The light has come! Filtering this world through his light and love, calling upon his Spirit daily, we are able to see his presence clearly in all of creation and circumstance… through every Advent candle and Christmas light, to sunrise, sunset, and rainbow. What amazing grace! I was blind but now I see!
Rajean Wolters is assistant to the dean for the arts and humanities at Hope College.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.