We have been thinking much about what a saved relationship with God looks like. If it is the case that the life of God is to be reflected in and through the believer then there is no argument over what the saved life should look like. What a Christian is to be. The salvation which we receive in Jesus is much greater than I believe any of us know, God’s grace likewise is takes hold of us giving us that experience of truly being set free from sin. God standard, His glory and all which that includes is much higher than any of us think.
Paul when writing Romans, Galatians and here in Titus is very clear about the high standards of God, which none of us could ever hope to reach on our own. But now that we are saved, that salvation brings with it this grace of God which teaches us to say no to ungodliness. When we have that desire to do something, to think something, to believe something contrary to God’s glory, God’s graces teaches us to say no. God’s grace causes us to live a life devoted to God, with a mind, heart and will that still has to battle with sin. God’s grace trains us for such a battle.
Summary of Titus 2:11-15
In v11 we read that God’s grace is what brings salvation to us, that grace v12 is what trains us to renounce ungodliness. Making us ready v13 to meet Jesus. This Jesus is the one who v14 gave himself to redeem us from lawlessness, making us pure and being his possession. A people who a zealous for good works. Paul then teaches us that these things are to be taught, declared and exhorted, even with rebuke, with all authority and as you do this let no one disregard you Titus. We know he is speaking to Titus is the one he is writing to, who is in one of these churches.
Paul is teaching Titus, reminding Titus that belief and behavior are linked because of the grace of God. Paul knows that while everyone will have to live their own life before God and will be responsible to God for living their own life before God. Titus as a teacher of God’s word will have to show these Christians how to think through the issues. With the aim of getting people to live in such a way that they demonstrate that they truly understand and appreciate and love the standards of God and the reason for His grace.
V14 Jesus gave himself to redeem us from lawlessness. The standards of God are seen in his laws, perhaps the most famous of them is the ten God gave on Mount Sinai. There are of course many more. The law of God not only reveals God’s standard but as Paul teaches over in romans it reveals our desire to sin. Imagine it this way – you tell a child they can’t do something, what do they do? You then say I wish I had never told them, they perhaps would have never of thought of it if I didn’t put in their head. Is what you have told them bad, no – but it perhaps stirred them up and because of sin they went ahead and did it.
The law isn’t bad but when we are told to not do something we end up doing it. God’s grace enables us to listen to the law of God and say no when we want to do the opposite. The law of God is like a sign post, pointing us towards godliness, like a ladder at the top of which is godliness. But because of sin we are unable to climb that ladder. There is nothing wrong with the ladder. The problem is with our ability – we can’t do it, we can’t get there. God’s grace unlike the law, which can tell us which way to go, God’s grace, will cause us to go the right way. God’s law still gives us the direction but God’s grace gives us the ability to walk that way.
Salvation then, to be saved, is not to be saved from the law as in separated from it. But rather to be separated from sin which causes us to be unable to keep God’s law. Jesus has redeemed us from lawlessness. The beauty of this is that we can live a life which pleases God because v11 the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation for all people. The way this grace has appeared is in the person of Jesus Christ, Jesus is the grace of God and so now we being to understand how the grace of God can train us to say no to ungodliness.
In the same way Jesus called his disciples, disciplining them along the way, the grace of God which is with every believer does the same. Yet too often we miss some of the way Jesus goes about training his disciples. Remember the time when Jesus gets into Peter’s boat and starts giving him orders, or when he called to Zacchaeus telling him that he is coming to his house for tea – without even being invited. Jesus in both cases is giving orders and in giving orders He is re-ordering the life of those he is speaking to. You would find this happens a lot if you sat a read through the gospels. This re- ordering. That’s the grace of God at work.
God’s people are God’s possession
Elsewhere is scripture we read that believers, those who belong to Jesus are not their own precisely because they were bought with the blood of Christ. The death of Christ is a purchase of men and women, boys and girls bought with the blood of Christ. In other words when Jesus died we became his possession. It was the price that had to be paid for us to become his possession. Now that we are his possession our lives are being re-ordered by His grace, making us pure for Jesus.
Jesus doesn’t save a perfect people, we all know that, but we also need to know that he re-orders our life so as to make us perfect. – I don’t know if you have ever had to make you for something big but the room you want to put it in already has stuff that you don’t want to lose. You eventually come to the conclusion that somethings have to go. How much room do you believe God should take up in a person life? This is why Jesus re-orders and even removes from our life that which there is no longer any room for. It may not always be wrong but it’s getting in the way when it comes to living for God. I guess that if we are God’s possession, He can do with us as he pleases. That’s the point.
Grace, it teaches us to follow what God’s word, it teaches us to say no to ungodliness, it teaches us to obey God’s law under grace. In other words God’s grace always takes us back to God’s word, his law as a means of directing and re-ordering our life. In other words we follow what the bible says because the word of God is a means of grace. Because Grace instructs, we understand that all of God’s people receive the same instruction for the same purpose. God we can say takes care of everything. So Titus can have confidence to declare these things v15 exhort, rebuke with all authority. Will he be disregarded, taken no notice of by some, overlooked as others as just a fancy idea he has. Of course this is why Paul says let no one disregard you. Titus doesn’t have Paul with him but he doesn’t have Paul’s backing.
It’s often been suggested that the old and new testament can be divided as being under law and then being under grace. As if to say that God’s law comes before God’s grace; however if we read from beginning to the end of scripture we will find that it’s actually the other way around. This is spelled out for God’s people in the very first commandment “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other god’s before me”. First grace then the commandment, it wasn’t their obedience to God’s law why God took them out of slavery it His grace. Jesus does the same in his sermon on the mount, God’s grace and then God’s law. Notice then that God’s grace is not opposed to God’s law as Paul says in Romans 7, but rather complementary. God’s law and God’s grace teaches us the difference between being accepting and what is acceptable, for not everything we are accepting of is acceptable to God, so His grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness.