Titus 2:11-13 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ
We don’t usually think of God’s grace in these terms, but this in no way conflicts with what the rest of the Bible says about it. What it boils down to is that absolutely everything about God in relation to us is grace; we don’t deserve any of it. The better we understand God’s grace the better we are able to indeed say “No” to ungodliness and worldly lusts, as Paul says here. Considering how Paul described the people of Crete in the first chapter, this was a pretty important thing for him to write to Titus who was ministering to them. Looking at our world today, this passage is no less appropriate for us! The better we understand God’s grace, the freer we are from the temptations and traps of the devil. Far too many people associate grace with license, the permission to do anything we like. That’s a terrible deception of the enemy. When we understand that we really are forgiven, that should inspire us to live lives of total gratitude and obedience. A major problem is that we fail to grasp how bad sin really is. The news supplies us with plenty of horrendous examples of sin, and so long as we don’t go that far, we think we’re OK. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” (2 Corinthians 10:12) The standard isn’t other people, it’s Jesus Christ Himself, in all His purity. Any sin disqualifies us from eternal salvation, apart from the grace of God. That’s why God’s grace is indeed amazing, just as John Newton wrote so beautifully. He realized that when the captain of a slave ship could be saved, nothing was impossible for God! We shouldn’t have to be so far gone to grasp the magnitude of God’s grace toward us, and the sooner we do grasp it, the better off we are.
This is intensely personal for me. I have known the facts of salvation since childhood, and I think my commitment was real, though terribly immature. That made it all the more devastating when God, in the magnitude of His grace and mercy, tapped me on the shoulder in 1972 and, when I turned, had a mirror for me to see, just for a moment, the blackness of my own soul. My spiritual growth began from that moment. It would have been nice if that had cured me completely, but my flesh has been remarkably stubborn. It was quite a few years later that I was again mired in a persistent sin, and then God used 2 Peter 1:9 to show me that when I repented, I really was forgiven. God’s grace is indeed amazing! I have the privilege of proclaiming that grace to others, but I need the wisdom and anointing of God to do it right, because it is literally beyond human intellect to grasp it fully. (Philippians 4:7)
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You also for making it clear what I am to speak on Sunday! I had expected to speak on more of what You said to me through the conference speakers, but Your plans are always best. Help me be faithful in my obedience, rightly responding to Your incredible grace toward me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!