“The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us, to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world; looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a people for His own possession, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:11-14
Cheap Grace! It is everywhere. Especially masquerading as Sovereign Grace in the vocabulary and theology of smug self-loving Calvinists. Ah, ‘justified by faith’ – that’s all there is to salvation. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you shall be saved. (That’s the slogan of the shallow evangelicals.) Sign the (Reformed/London) Baptist Confession of Faith, and you are elected, chosen, predestinated, and you have reserved for yourself a niche in heaven. (That’s my experience with the insufferable Calvinists!) Speak in tongues, have a vision of two, utter a prophecy! (That’s the Charismatic version of God’s Grace Unto Salvation!)
So many lies, even in mainline Christianity! But what does the passage in Titus say? The subject: Grace of God. What does God’s Grace do? Instructs us! That word instructs means trains, chastens, disciplines us. The KJV says teaches. No, it is not theoretical teaching in faith-destroying Bible schools and seminaries. It is practical! On one side, we deny ungodly and worldly lusts (sports, television, gluttony) – which is impossible without the work of the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit takes us through the way of the Cross!
On the other side, we ought to live soberly, righteously and godly in the present godless age. Live like Enoch! Live like Noah! Those three words are enough! Am I sober (self-controlled), righteous (walking in truth) and godly (standing for God, and being a man of God)? No, it’s a long journey, but the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Grace, is here to transform me. Not just a talking Christian, but a walking Christian, reflecting, radiating Christ – and being hated by the world for it!
Looking for the blessed hope…I’m afraid, we have all lost that! Ecce Venit! (Lord, I haven’t reached that far, I’m bogged down with my present cares and problems!)
Why did the Lord Jesus Christ die or give Himself as a sacrifice for us? Here is the purpose of grace – i. To redeem us from every lawless deed, and ii. To purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Not our deeds, self-willed, self-pleasing, done to earn popular approbation. Not our works, not even ‘social work’ and ‘social justice’. And the purpose is sanctification; without holiness we will not see God. God’s people, those whom He loves, are a humble, holy, hidden people; His peculiar treasure, a royal priesthood, His faithful servants, doing His good works (Eph 2:10), according to His good will and for His good pleasure. His beloved children, now mature sons, ready to take up responsibility in the future kingdom of God.
No, but we have cheapened Grace. It is such a huge word in the New Testament, but we have brought our petty and foolish mind onto it and reduced it to a catch-phrase, ‘saved by grace’. I ask, Saved unto what? Titus 2:11-14 explains that.