Grace Has Appeared (Titus 2:11-15)
I. The Appearing of Grace (verse 11)
William Hendriksen described God’s grace in this way: “His active favor bestowing the greatest gift upon those who have deserved the greatest punishment.” This active, undeserved favor “appeared” in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (2 Tim 1:10, Luke 1:79). When this grace arrived it brought salvation to all men, which in the context of verses 11-15 refers primarily to the sanctifying power of God’s grace in Christ. Paul has just spoken about “all men” in verses 1-10, as he described all the different kinds of people in the church and their particular responsibilities. The salvation that has been brought to “all” people in the church by the grace of God leaves “all” of us without an excuse for not responding in obedience to God’s commands on our lives.
II. The Instruction of Grace (verses 12-13)
The word for “instruct” can be translated a number of different ways: train, teach, discipline, bring up or raise a child. The idea is that God in His grace takes it upon Himself apply the needed means to shape and mold us into His truth. His grace instructs us to do three things:
First, negatively, it instructs us to “deny ungodliness and worldly desires.” Ungodliness is living without regard for God or for God’s rightful place in our heart. Worldly desires are any desire that is conformed to this sinful world in its opposition to God (1 John 2:15-16).
Second, positively, it instructs us how “to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.” It isn’t enough for grace to merely teach us what not to do; it must also teach us what to do. The best way to refuse sinful desires is by actively turning to obedience, seeking after what is sensible, righteous, and godly.
Third, it instructs us where to look. It is as we actively look to the coming of Christ that we are enabled to turn away from ungodliness and turn to godliness (1 John 3:2-3). The return of Christ is our “blessed hope” because it is the absolute culmination of all our expectations and longings. It is “the appearing of glory” because it is the appearing of “our Great God” Himself, in the Person of Christ Jesus.
III. The Accomplishment of Grace (verse 14)
The grace of God does not just make it possible for our lives to be transformed, it secures and guarantees that transformation. In giving Himself He absolutely and irrevocably accomplished three things: (1) He accomplished our redemption, by which we are freed from every lawless deed; (2) He accomplished our purification, by which our lives are offered as a sacrifice of worship to God; (3) He accomplished for us a heart-felt zeal and burning desire for good deeds. When He gave Himself, this was the goal He had in mind for us. And He will not come up empty in the purpose for which He died.
IV. The Wonder of Grace (verses 13b-14a)
These verses remind us that not only is Jesus our great God, He is also our great Savior, who gave Himself for us. The One who gave Himself for you is, in His Person, nothing less than the fullness of deity, God Himself. He gave Himself completely when He exposed Himself to the wrath of God we deserve. He gave Himself willingly, laying down His life of His own accord (John 10:17-18). He gave Himself for us, those who were least deserving of His love (Romans 5:6-8).
V. The Authority of Grace (verse 15)
Titusmust speak the truth of the gospel and the implications for our lives. When people seem to be dull or slow to apply those truths, he is to exhort them. And when people turn away from those truths or disregard them, he is to reprove them. He is to do this with all authority, making sure that no one despises or disregards him, because this message is one that cannot be ignored or disregarded. The message of God’s grace is the sole hope for mankind, and must not be disregarded or rejected. It was Titus’ responsibility to do all that he could to make sure that every individual in the church was hearing, receiving, and responding to the grace of God.
- Are you actively looking for the blessed hope of Christ’s appearing? What are the practical evidences in your life that you have “fixed your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you” when He returns (1 Peter 1:13)?
- Christ accomplished all that was needed for our sanctification. How should it affect your fight for holiness to know that, while you are responsible to pursue holiness, your sanctification doesn’t rest on your own strength, but on what Christ has already objectively accomplished for you?
- Have you received this grace? Has the transforming grace of Jesus Christ appeared in your life? If not, turn to the one through whom this grace flows, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us!