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 Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good. – Titus 2:11-14
In the book of Titus, Paul emphasizes the importance of good deeds in the life of Christians. The letter is brief, but is an important link in the discipleship process.
THE BLUE PRINT
1. Leadership in the church.
2. Right living in the church.
3. Right living in society.
Paul calls for church order and right living on an island known for laziness, gluttony, lying and evil. The Christians are to be self-disciplined as individuals, and they must be orderly as people who form one body, the church. We need to obey this message in our day when discipline is not respected or rewarded by our society. Although others may not appreciate our efforts, we must live upright lives, obey the government, and control our speech. We should live together peacefully in the church and be living examples of our faith to contemporary society.
A GOOD LIFE
The Good News of salvation is that we can’t be saved by a living good life; we are saved only by faith in Jesus Christ. But the gospel transforms people’s lives, so that they eventually perform good deeds. Our service won’t save us, but we are saved to serve. A good life is a witness to the gospel’s power. As Christians, we must have commitment and discipline to serve. Are you putting your faith into action by serving others?
It’s not enough to be educated or to have a loyal following to be Christ’s kind of leader. We must have self-control, spiritual and moral fitness, and Christian character. Who we are is just as important as what we can do.
Church teaching must relate to various groups. Older Christians were to teach and to be examples to younger men and women. People of every age and group have a lesson to learn and role to play. Right living and right relationships go along with right doctrine. Treat relationships with others as an outgrowth of your faith.
Christians must be good citizens in society, not just in church. Believers must obey the government and work honestly. How we fulfill our civic duties is a witness to the watching world. Our community life should reflect Christ’s love as much as our church life does.
PROMOTE RIGHT TEACHING
Paul brings out two aspects of Christian living that must be stressed today. “We should live in this evil…while we look forward with hope.” Both aspects of living and looking forward are essential to our Christian sanity in this present evil age. The living is made bearable because we live for God – seeking to build His Kingdom with whatever gifts He has given us. And it is that very Kingdom to which we are looking forward. As we live and look forward, we anticipate three great benefits of Christ’s return:
1. Christ’s personal presence – we look forward to being with Him.
2. Redemption from our sinful nature – we long for the end of the battle with sin and our perfection in Christ.
3. Restoration of creation – we anticipate the complete rule of grace when the image of God will be fully realized in people and when the created order will be restored.
THE GRACE OF GOD
Titus 2:11-14 describe the character and purpose of God’s saving grace and the effect it should have on believers’ lives. According to Paul, saving grace is a gift of God that:
a) causes God to make spiritual salvation available to all people through the sin-covering sacrifice of His Son, Jesus.
b) enables us to accept Christ by faith and enter a personal relationship with God.
c) instructs believers to reject without compromise the ungodly passions, pleasures and values of the world and embrace the purposes of God.
d) commands and empowers Christ’s followers to live “upright and godly lives” while waiting expectantly for the “blessed hope” – the return of Christ.
IT TEACHES US TO SAY “NO” TO UNGODLINESS.
In order for the believer’s behaviour to please and glorify God, it must be based on right beliefs and grounded in a right relationship with God. Our primary reason for doing good and living right should not be out of religious duty but the response of our love and gratitude toward God. His undeserved love shown to us through Jesus Christ while we were still opposed to Him should be our motivation for serving God and saying “no” to anything that might compromise His standards or take away from our devotion to Him.
THE “BLESSED HOPE” that every faithful Christian deeply desires is “the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ,” and the anticipation of being with Him for eternity. This hope could be realized and fulfilled at any time. We should always be prepared for Jesus’ return, never giving up the hope that today could be the day He comes to rescue them from the oppressive world and bring them to their heavenly home.
GAVE HIMSELF FOR US
Jesus willingly gave His own perfect life in our place to pay the complete penalty for our sins and offenses against God. He did this in order to redeem us from all wickedness and from our own selfish desire to defy God’s law and standards and to make us a holy people – spiritually purified, separated from evil and reserved as God’s very own special possession. When facing struggles with our own sinful desires and Satan’s power, we must realize that if Jesus died to restore us to a personal relationship with God, how much more will He now give us enough help and strength necessary to live victoriously over the power of sin and evil and “to do what is good”.
Source: Culled from The Life Application Bible & Fire Bible – Global Study Edition.