“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11-14
The brief epistle of Titus is filled with instructions, including those for the appointment of elders (1:5-11), proper behavior for various groups of people (2:1-10), our conduct toward those in authority (3:1, 2), dealing with the divisive (3:9-11), and several other things. While all of these are important, our focus in this will be on the Spirit’s revelation of what God’s grace does for us.
“The grace of God that brings salvation….”
Since all have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), we all deserve death, but by the grace of God we can have salvation instead. Let us thank God for His completely undeserved grace.
As the Spirit said through Paul in Eph. 3:5, in other ages the mystery of God’s grace was not made known, but now it has been revealed by His holy apostles and prophets. There will be some who will not avail themselves of God’s grace, but the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24) has been revealed and recorded. Let’s not allow its appearance be in vain.
“To all men….”
The unconditional election and predestination of Calvinism (Reformed theology) is completely without biblical foundation; in fact, it is contradicted by numerous passages such as those that speak of the gospel being for every creature (Mark 16:15, 16), God’s impartiality (Acts 10:34, 35), His desire that all be saved (1 Tim. 2:3-6), and numerous others. No matter who we are or what we have done, we can be comforted by knowing that God’s grace has appeared to all men.
“Teaching us that….”
Grace, though undeserved, comes with some instructions and requirements. God has manifested His grace to all, but unfortunately it will be in vain for some because they will not heed its teaching (2 Cor. 6:1). Are we listening to the teachings of the God who desires our salvation?
“Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts….”
God offers cleansing from the guilt of sin, but only for those willing to repent and turn from their wicked ways. Cf. Acts 2:38; 17:30, 31; 2 Pet. 3:9; et al. No sinful pleasure should be allowed to stand between us and the grace of God.
“We should live soberly, righteously, and godly…”
The Lord not only demands that we give up the old ways of sin, but having become freed from sin, He expects us to be “zealous for good works.” This brief epistle places great emphasis on the positive life of those saved by His mercy (Titus 3:5). God’s people are to “be a pattern of good works...ready for every good work...careful to maintain good works...maintain good works.” Titus 2:7; 3:1, 8, 14
In the present age….
Though the people of Crete lived in the midst of “liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” (Titus 1:12), they were expected to rise above it and live the kind of lives God expected from them. We can’t allow the wickedness of the present age to become our excuse, for we too can rise above it.
“Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ….”
To deny oneself the sinful pleasures this world offers and in turn to commit to choosing righteousness is not easy, but the “hope of eternal life” (Titus 1:2) will sustain us. And though we live in the present age, we realize our hope is in Jesus and His return. This age has its difficulties and disappointments, but we must press on in hope.
“Who gave Himself for us….”
Nothing speaks more clearly to the grace of God than the cross on which “the precious blood of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:19) was shed for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). Amazing grace indeed that Jesus chose to “taste death for everyone” (Heb. 2:9).
“That He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify….”
When we heed the instructions of grace and are baptized into Christ, our sins are forgiven (Acts 2:38) and by His mercy we receive the “washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). How wonderful to know that God no longer holds our sins against us, for every transgression is forgiven and “remember[ed] no more” (Heb. 8:12). People sometimes want to hold our past against us, but the God of grace won’t.
“For Himself His own special people….”
Though we had sinned and come short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23) and the world may look down on us, by His grace the tremendous honor of becoming His special people has been given us. With all that His grace offers, let’s be sure we heed its instructions.
All quotes taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1994, Thomas Nelson Publishers.