Let’s continue in Titus. Here, we come to one of the most beautiful descriptions of the gospel in the New Testament. I could read this passage all day. Paul had such a profound understanding of the gospel and had been so gripped by grace that he could write this beautiful passage.
God’s grace appeared through Jesus Christ, and brings salvation! What a great truth. What a wonderful truth. What a wonderful gospel we believe and live. How amazing that the God of the universe chose to come and save his people by grace; not by our works but by the marvelous and unmerited grace of God. And what does this grace do? Of course God’s grace does immeasurably more than we could ever know or see.
One function of this grace is described here by Paul is to train us to “renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.” The grace of God actually teaches us to live in a honorable way to the Lord. We see God’s unmerited grace which is gifted to us by God himself, and it trains us to live in the way described by God. His grace points us to his character. His character is perfect in every way. There is no wrong within him. His perfect and sovereign grace flows out of his perfect and sovereign character. God’s grace points us to God and shows us to “live in a manner worthy of our calling.” How do we do that? We look at Christ. We look at his perfection and we strive to live holy. We strive to live like Christ. The grace of God points us to the God who gives grace. When we are gripped by the radical, sovereign grace of God, we should joyfully strive to live lives that renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age. It’s not easy. That’s why we need grace. Beautiful, messy grace.
Living these lives, gripped by the grace of God, will be spent pursuing holiness and waiting on the glorious appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. What a day that will be, when the Lord splits open the sky, and the people of Christ are glorified. That is our blessed hope. We have hope that Christ will one-day appear to us, perfecting and glorifying our bodies, and setting up his kingdom, so that we will live with him forever. What a hope.
This Jesus, who is coming again, is the same Jesus who gave himself for us to redeem us from all unrighteousness. Jesus, the everlasting Word, who was and is and is to come, gave himself as the perfect sacrifice for his people, redeeming them. Buying them back, even in their sin. While his people were still in their sin and in their unrighteousness, Christ died so that they might be seen as righteous in the eyes of God. Christ died so that we could be, as Martin Luther described it, “simul justus et peccator,” or “at the same time, righteous and sinner.” We are sinners who are made righteous by Christ, though we still sin continuously. A beautiful truth made possible by a beautiful Savior. By his sacrificial death, he not only redeems us, but also purifies us. He refines us so that we are made presentable and holy. By making us more holy and pure over time, the grace of God makes us zealous for good works. Our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, and that can only happen when we’re doing the good works which he made for us before creation. We can only be zealous for good works when we’re gripped by grace, realizing those good works don’t save us, but bring glory to God.
All of this is worth declaring. We can confidently declare all of this because of our confidence in the Scriptures where all this is written. We declare the gospel with authority because of God’s authority in the world through the truth-claims of Scripture. We stand firm on the Word of God and declare and exhort and rebuke. We will not be disregarded because we are confident that this gospel message of love, justice, and grace is the truest truth that can ever be declared. So declare this beautiful gospel without fear of rebuke or disregard from the world. God has given you a message if you are in Christ. Declare the gospel to the world that so desperately needs to hear that the grace of God has appeared through Jesus Christ, who came to save sinners like you and me.
Soli Deo Gloria