I always knew that grace was God’s undeserved favor. Even when I did not deserve it, Jesus died for my sins so I wouldn’t have to go to hell. But to my shame, that is pretty much where my thoughts on grace stopped. I didn’t meditate on the implications of grace: what his grace meant today, how his grace was supposed to effect my daily life.
But as I was reading the epistle of Titus the other day, Paul’s statements about grace leapt off the page at me. God graciously allowed me (pun intended) to get a deeper understanding of grace’s implications.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that—denying ungodliness and worldly lusts—we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ
I understood the first part of this passage. God’s grace—mercy we don’t deserve—is now universally available because of Jesus’ death on the cross. What I did not understand was that grace is a teacher! Grace is not just something that forgives us of our sin; grace teaches us to live better lives so that we do not continue making the same sinful mistakes that separated us from God in the first place.
This harmonizes perfectly with Paul’s words to the church at Rome, when he told them that the goodness of God leads men to repentance (Romans 2:4). God’s goodness to us teaches us that we are sinners who need his help. And that same grace continues to work in our lives to lead us closer and closer to God. That’s why James says “But he giveth more grace….Draw nigh unto God, and he will draw nigh unto you” (4:6-8). The closer we get to God, the more his grace teaches us how to be like him.
Grace teaches us, first of all, that we must deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. There are some things that just aren’t compatible with God. All that stuff about fellowship with light and darkness. And if we are honest with ourselves, there are certain ungodly/worldly things that we find appealing. I’ll be honest. I’m not perfect. There are sinful activities that I would find quite enjoyable. But grace teaches us how to deny to those desires. Grace can give us a Holy Ghost education on how to resist the deep-seated, sinful desires in our heart; and by God’s grace we will eventually not even want those things any more.
When we follow God’s grace we learn how to be sober, righteous, and godly. Sober means serious. Living for God is serious business, and we need to take it seriously. Paul told the Ephesians, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise” (5:15). Now is no time for foolishness. If we let grace be our teacher, we will learn to live carefully so that we do not offend the God that we love. And with enough grace, we can eventually become godly—like the God we worship.
As a closing remark, grace teaches us to have present practice with future focus. We learn how to live our daily lives, but we look forward to our eternal life. Grace teaches us how to be godly, righteous, and sober today; but when we live by grace we keep our focus on heaven, because we can’t wait to see Jesus.
I always understood grace was about the future—Jesus coming back to save me. But I’m glad that God showed me grace is also for today, for this present world. May you have a day filled with the grace of God, and may that grace teach you how to be more like him.
Grace be with you all. Amen
As I said in my last post, I have been reading (and rereading) the epistles to Timothy and Titus a lot lately. Even though I have read these books many times in the past, God has really been expanding my understanding of the truths found in these books. After my last post about intercession in 1st Timothy, I decided that I needed to do a series about some of these life-changing principles.
So keep your eyes open; every Tuesday for the next several weeks I will be posting an article about something from one of these two books. Think of it as a “Timothy Tuesday” or “Titus Tuesday.” As always, thank you for reading! ~CJK