We read Titus 2:11-14 last week and ended last week looking at how Jesus would save us from our sins. However, salvation is not merely a reserved seat in heaven, or an insurance policy against going to hell. Salvation is described for us quite accurately in Titus 2:12. Why has the grace of God that bringeth salvation appeared to all men? Paul goes on to say…
Teaching us that, [Look at what this grace is supposed to teach us.] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Did you see the putting off and the putting on? Salvation in this present world requires changing. If we want to manifest wholeness in this present world we must deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. We must change and live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.
Part of the message of Christmas is that when Jesus appeared things changed. Because of his life we can have newness of life. This newness of life requires that we be not conformed to this world; we must deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. We must be transformed and live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.
Now “soberly” does not mean long-faced, overly serious or without humor. It means with a sound mind, sensibly, showing self-control, being temperate. The Louw-Nida lexicon adds that it may be rendered as “to have right thoughts about what one should do” or “to let one’s mind guide one’s body.” This is where God’s Word comes in. When we do the Word we are sober, we are thinking rightly and showing self-control. The context has more to say about it. Let’s go back to verse 6.
Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
That is the kind of living that results when a heart has been changed by contact with Jesus Christ. “In this world,” literally means “in this present age.” We are to show the change right now. Jesus makes a difference right now. How can this be accomplished? Well, the next verse sheds some light on it. It says, “We should live… looking for his appearing.
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [the appearance of the glory of the great God, even of our Saviour Jesus Christ.]
It is the grace of God that brings us to salvation. This grace has appeared, and we should recognize it because it has a lesson to teach us. “Teach” is the Greek word paideuō, usually translated chasten or chastise. It is used of the instruction used in raising children. Just as surely as we ought to teach our children what to deny or refuse and what they should allow or embrace, the grace of God should do the same for us. The object of the teaching is that we deny or refuse anything that is not godly, including worldly lusts.
In contrast we should live soberly, thinking correctly, taking life seriously. We should live righteously, doing what is right. We should also live godly, even though that may mean that we suffer persecution or are pursued or chased. Indeed, II Timothy 3:12 says, “Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
We have a lot to look forward to, don’t we? Everyone thinks that they want to live godly, that’s one of the nine hundred promises in the Word! When we try it and the persecution comes, some people decide that didn’t want to live that way in the first place. Ever think about that? That’s a promise. If you live godly you are going to suffer persecution! Isn’t that what the Word says? Didn’t we just read it? Doesn’t that mean people are going to laugh at us sometimes? People might not agree with us, there might be some embarrassment, there might be some discomfort. Well, so what. That’s a promise folks so we ought not let the persecution, the embarrassment, or whatever keep us from doing what we want to be doing.
To accomplish this we must live, looking. Live, looking for what? We live looking for the blessed hope, that is, the appearing of Jesus Christ. For when he shall appear we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is. (I John 3:2) Christ gave himself for the church, and this great redemptive act freed us from all iniquity. It also purifies and sanctifies us as a peculiar people zealous of good works, which were before ordained that we should walk in. (Ephesians 2:8) There is purpose behind all of this.
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
The key is a peculiar people, “a people of his own,” i.e., a people for his own possession. The Jesus that was born in Bethlehem is willing and able to be reborn in you. The secret of a godly life is God himself as in integral part of that life. It’s God in Christ in you! That makes the difference. That imparts the power. That preserves the purity. He is the only answer. Not an empty creed that is followed, but a living Lord at work in his people.
Christ did not come simply to give us a beautiful manger scene to look at. He did not come to give us a lovely pageant once a year. He came to be a Savior. He came to give salvation, to begin right where we are, in our place of need, and to accept us as we are, and to change us.
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
Since we have such great hope, we speak about it often and with authority. We have the right to speak on what we know to be true. Once we receive the teaching and make it our own, our lives will evidence its truth and our testimony will be powerful. Then we will not be ashamed to speak, but rather we will be bold to do so. Seriousness, righteousness, and godliness speak loudly as we live, looking.
By Wayne Clapp