Sunday, September 2, 2012

Implications of Grace part 2 (Titus 2:11-14)

Those who accept God’s Grace are changed by its teaching.

This passage begins with a connecting word, “for.” It shows us that the entire teaching of these four verses illuminates what has come before. Paul is teaching Titus about leadership in the churches of Crete. He has told Titus that he needs to appoint good leaders, and the key of good leadership here is in their teaching. They are to teach good doctrine based on the Gospel message, not speculations, myths and rules.

In verses 1-10 of chapter 2, he tells Titus what to teach the people about behavior. He gives Titus a list of ethical qualities for all the people groups in the churches. Not a list of rules and laws, but characteristics that will govern behavior in all situations.

But here, in verses 11-14, he gives Titus the foundation for godly living. It is the grace of God.

God’s grace doesn’t just save us. It changes us. It teaches us how we should live. It is an exchange of one mode of living for another. The illustration that Paul uses elsewhere in his writing is that of changing clothes. We take off the old ungodliness and sinful passions and we put on in its place three things:

Self-control. The ability to govern our own behavior and attitudes.

Righteous living. Living justly in the world. Behaving well towards others.

Godly living. Reverently living well in our relation to God.

These three new behaviors govern our relationship to our own selves, to others around us, and to our heavenly Father.

The application here is clear and easy to see. If we claim we have accepted God’s grace leading to our salvation, we will exhibit obedience to God in our lives. We will be changed people. If we claim we believe but we live just like everyone around us, those who do not believe, then we are lying to ourselves and we do not believe the way that the Bible say we need to.

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