In the previous ten verses, Paul has commanded Titus to teach the things consistent with sound, healthy doctrine. This doctrine consisted of the older men being self-controlled and sound in the faith. Older women were to reflect godliness, controlling the tongue, and teaching the younger women to love their husbands, work at home, and yield to their husbands. Young men were to be models of good works and being sound in their speech. Verses 11-15 explains why these are the things we must do and teach.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, (2:11: ESV)
This is an interesting way to speak of something that cannot be seen. You cannot see the grace of God. You cannot see grace, period. It is a concept. But the apostle Paul says that the grace of God has appeared, describing the grace of God as a person. The person is bringing salvation for all people. God’s grace has appeared in the form of Jesus. Jesus came into the world bringing the grace of God. The sentence gives us a picture of arrival. The grace of God has arrived. Jesus came and he brought salvation.
Essentially, don’t forget who you are and where you are. We are lost! We have sinned. We have broken God’s laws. We are deserving of judgment and wrath because we have broken the law. A penalty of death is due to each one of us. But rather than the arrival of God’s wrath, we see the arrival of God’s grace. We deserve death, but God’s grace appears in the person of Jesus, who came bringing salvation to all.
Can we emphasize the all? Every person has the opportunity for salvation. Jesus brought salvation to every person. There is no one excluded. It does not matter what you have done in life. It does not matter what mistakes you have made in your past or what sins you have committed. Salvation has been brought to all people. The grace of God is for everyone. The atonement of Jesus is not limited, but offered to all.
training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, (2:12; ESV)
The grace of God is teaching us and training us how to live our lives. The grace of God is training and conditioning us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions. When we see the grace of God as seen through the appearing of Jesus and the salvation offered, how can we not say no to ungodliness? How can we not say no to worldly passions? The grace of God should compel us to become the attributes we read about in Titus 2:1-10. It is far past time for us to say no to ungodliness! Are we saying no to ungodliness? Are we saying no to our worldly lusts? We sin when we forget what God has done for us. We sin when we do not keep our minds on Jesus. Anything that is not like God we must say no. We will not think about it and we will not engage in it.
I really like this idea of God’s grace training us and instructing us. The grace of God, if we truly appreciate, will be a tool to change our lives. What has the grace of God taught you? It should be training us to control ourselves. When I look at the grace of God as revealed through Jesus, I learn to put my body under control. I see God acting with patience toward us and so I must be patient and self-controlled. When I look at Jesus I see that he kept his emotions in check. He had the power to destroy. He had the right to act in anger. But his grace towards us trains us to control our emotions. We learn that though we may have the right to lash out against others, we will maintain control over our tongues and temper.
The grace of God teaches us to live upright. We see Jesus treating others the way they should be treated. We see Jesus doing good toward others and exhibiting compassion. Instead of being compassionate, giving, fair, and just we will act selfishly and uncaring. We will not think about the well being of others, but will act in our own interests. The grace of God shows us that this is not right and we must be upright in our dealings with others. We must be fair. We must be kind. We must be caring. We must be compassionate. We must be thoughtful.
Not only these, but the grace of God also teaches us to be godly. The picture here is very simply. We need to look like God. We have not seen God, but we have seen Jesus. We need to live as God would live on this earth.
waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, (2:13; ESV)
As we live in godliness, uprightness, and self-control, we are waiting something special. We are await a second appearing- the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. We make these life changes because we have been given a hope. We give our lives to Jesus for the hope that has been made clear to us: Christ is coming back. In all of his glory and splendor, Christ is coming back. What was seen of the glory of his first arrival will be nothing to what will be seen of his glory when he comes again.
This hope is something valuable. We use hope today in a different way than it is intended in the scriptures. When we “hope” in our language today, what we usually mean is that we wish for something. I hope to be able to go to Disney. I hope that he will make it back in time from the story. I hope we are not late. Our hope casts uncertainty. We are not sure if we will be on time, so we hope we are not late. We are not sure that we are going to Disney, so we hope that we can go. But that is not how the biblical writers use the word translated hope. Hope in the scriptures speaks of an earnest expectation. It is not a wish and there is no degree of uncertainty. Hope is something you know with certainty will happen and you are just waiting for it to occur. This is the idea. There is no doubt or any degree of uncertainty that Jesus will return, appearing with great glory. That is our happy hope. We just have to wait for it.
We are told when this great return comes, the dead in Christ will rise and those who are alive on the earth will be caught up to meet Christ in the air. And so we will be united to Christ and we will see the glory of Christ in his triumphal return. We are not going to miss it. Those who have died in the Lord will not miss seeing this glorious return. Further, we will be reunited with those who have died in the Lord before. Paul told the Thessalonians that we will not only meet the Lord in the air but that we will be together with the Lord. A union with Christ and a reunion with those who have already given their lives to Jesus. Therefore, take courage and have hope because this day will arrive.
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. (2:14; ESV)
So the grace of God has appeared, showing us how to live, teaching and training us to say no to worldly lusts and yes to godliness. We adopt the attributes described in the first ten verses of this chapter as we wait the glorious return of our Lord. Now let us not forget what Christ has done. He gave himself to redeem us from all lawlessness. Redeem means that something was purchased for a price. If we redeem a coupon, the company that created the coupon purchases the paper for a price stated on it. Jesus paid a price to set us free from lawlessness. The penalty that is due to each of us because all of us have broken God’s law is no longer in effect against us because Jesus paid a price. Notice that Jesus bought us. Paul says he redeemed us. Not a piece of paper. Jesus purchased you and me.
The purchase price was staggering. “Who gave himself for us” reveals that his death was the price to purchase us. The price was his life… and he did it. He paid the price. We are now set free from sin, set free from Satan, and set free from lawlessness. Jesus bought us.
But that means we are not our own any longer. Jesus purchased us to be his own possession. I was a slave to Satan for my own choices of sin. Jesus pays the price of his death to release me from that slavery and now I become his possession. We are not our own. People so often talk about doing what they want to do. That is not ours to decide because we do not own ourselves any longer. Jesus owns us. He has put his name on us. We do not decide what is in our best interests, but God does. We do not do what we want because we are not in charge. Jesus paid the price. Jesus paid the price with two expectations:
- We become purified. We are to be a purified people. We are to be cleaned up, not go right back into the slavery that he purchased us from! How upsetting it must be for Christ to see us go right back into the filth that he just paid to release us from! What are we doing? We are to be purified. We are to be different because we are Christ’s possession now.
- We are to be zealous for good works. We are supposed to be on fire to do good things for God. Are you on fire? Do you think you could classify yourself as on fire and zealous to do good? Or do you think you are mildly interested or somewhat concerned? Where’s your fire? You can get your fire back by doing good works again. Put it back to the forefront. Put it back into your mind. Get it into your heart. I must be pure and I must do good works! I have been redeemed. The grace of God has appeared. I have no other alternative.
Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (2:15; ESV)
Finally, notice how Paul ends this thought with Titus. Tell everyone about this (declare it). You need to tell everyone that God’s grace has come and they need to act like his purified possession. Tell everyone to do it. Be what God has called us to in the first ten verses of Titus 2. Second, help people do it. Don’t just tell them but help them. Encourage them to reach this mark. We have the hope of God’s glorious return. Don’t give up. Be strong in the Lord. Third, tell people when they are not doing it (rebuke). Friends, we need to do it. We need to older men of this church to be what we read about in verse 2. We need the older women to be doing what we read in verses 3-4. We need the younger women to be doing what we read about in verse 5. We need the younger men doing what we read in verses 6-8. Don’t be Cretans! Be the holy people of God!