Scripture: For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14 ESV
Observation: Typical of Paul’s writing when referring to the grace and glory of Christ, his passionate thoughts flow freely and extend what would be a paragraph for most writers into a single sentence. For Paul, “the grace of God” in this context refers not only to the gift of salvation through faith (see Ephesians 2:8) but to the One who has ushered in our New Covenant of Grace, Jesus Christ: the Son of God is the grace of God. Indeed, our “great God and Savior” gave himself for us to redeem us from the penalty of sin (lawlessness) and to sanctify (purify) us so that we might do good works (Ephesians 2:10).
Takeaway: How then should we respond? First of all, we must keep perspective of who initiates. Christ, the essence and source of our grace, pursues us and transforms us through his Holy Spirit. Our part is to cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit, exhibiting humility, gratitude, and an earnest desire to please our Savior. And where should we expect to see the transformation? Verse 12 provides the answer: inward (self-controlled), outward (upright), and upward (godly). Christ demands that we submit all of ourselves to him—holding nothing back. In sum, we should aim to live lives of integrity where our thoughts, behavior, and faith align in one accord and yield a zealousness for good works.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for your Son, who manifested your grace in coming into our world and rescuing us from the penalty and power of sin. Would you please help us to submit to the transformational work of your Holy Spirit that we might live lives of integrity that bring glory to your Son and grow his kingdom? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling