How the Grace of God works [Part 3]

GRACE TRAINS US TO LIVE SENSIBLY, RIGHTEOUSLY, AND GODLY IN THIS PRESENT AGE (2:12B).

It is not enough to say no to ungodliness and worldly desires. You must also say yes to sensible, righteous, godly living. In the present age emphasizes that we do not need to isolate ourselves from this evil world in monasteries or Christian communes.

Rather, in the midst of this present evil age, we are to live sensible, righteous, godly lives, so that those in the world will be drawn to our Savior.

Many commentators have pointed out that sensibly refers to how you are to control yourself; righteously has reference to your relationships with others; and, godly refers to your relationship toward God.

(1). GRACE TRAINS US TO LIVE SENSIBLY.

This is the word that we have repeatedly encountered in Titus (1:8; 2:2, 4, 5, 6), which means, living in a self-controlled manner, not yielding to various passions and impulses. It is synonymous with the last of the fruits of the Spirit, which is self control.

(2). GRACE TRAINS US TO LIVE RIGHTEOUSLY.

This refers to a life of integrity and uprightness in your dealings with others. It means conforming to God’s standards of conduct, as revealed in the commandments of His Word.

(3). GRACE TRAINS US TO LIVE GODLY.

This refers to holiness and devotion to God, beginning on the heart level. It means to live a God-ward life, knowing that He examines your heart. You confess sinful thoughts to Him and live in the love and fear of God. As Paul expressed his concern (2 Cor. 11:3), “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

If you live in the way that Paul describes in our text, denying ungodliness and worldly desires and living sensibly, righteously, and godly in the midst of this corrupt age, other Christians will call you a legalist. Many in the world will think that you’re weird because you don’t strive for the same things that they seek. But you will experience the joy of close fellowship with the God who rescued you from sin and judgment. His grace motivates you to live differently than the world, and differently than those who profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him (Titus 1:16). But there’s a third way that grace trains us:

C. GRACE TRAINS US TO LIVE IN GODLINESS BY LOOKING AHEAD AND BEHIND (2:13-14A).

The forward look is toward the second coming of Jesus Christ. The backward look is toward the cross and its implications on our lives.

(1). LOOK AHEAD TO THE BLESSED HOPE OF CHRIST’S SECOND COMING (2:13).

God’s grace instructs us to look “for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” (Some Greek manuscripts read, “Jesus Christ.”) Christ’s first appearing was in grace, bringing salvation. During His first coming, His glory was mostly veiled. But His second appearing will be in glory, bringing salvation to His people, but terrifying judgment to those who have not believed in Him. His second coming is a “blessed hope” for those who know Him, because then we will fully experience all of the blessings of His salvation.

If your focus is set on the hope of Christ’s return, you will purify your life from every known sin (1 John 3:2-3).

If you got a call this week from the White House, announcing that the President would like to stay in your home sometime next month (meaning that your living room and kitchen would be on national television), I predict that you would do some housecleaning! Your home would sparkle because you knew that the President was coming.

Someone far greater than the President is coming! Paul calls Him, “our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” Scholars debate whether this refers to both the Father and the Son (as in the KJV), or to the Son alone (NASB). Either view affirms Jesus’ deity, in that He could not reveal the greatness of God’s glory if He were not God. But the Greek grammar, has one article governing both God and Savior, which is best understood to refer to one person, not to two. Also, every other time the New Testament refers to “the appearing,” it refers to Christ, not to God the Father. The adjective “great” is often applied to God in the Old Testament, but it is reserved for the Son in the New Testament (Luke 1:32; Heb. 10:21; 13:20). So this verse is a strong statement of Christ’s deity.

“Looking for” implies eager anticipation. Just as a young bride whose husband is away in the military eagerly looks forward to his return, so believers who have tasted God’s grace look forward to the coming of our Bridegroom. That hope motivates us to clean house on any sins in our lives.

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