3 Ways the Grace of God Trains us to Live Differently (Titus 2:11-14)
“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.” (Tit 2:11-14 ESV)
The concept of human instructors training individuals us is easy to understand. Scientists teach students how to perform experiments, musicians teach students how to perform, bakers teach students how to bake, etc. Far more difficult to understand notion of training received from God. We see this concept in Titus 2:11-14. Here the Apostle Paul teaches that God’s grace (His undeserved kindness toward us displayed in Jesus saving, redeeming and making us a new creation through His life, death and resurrection) trains believers to live differently (“to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age”). But how does this work? How does God’s gracious saving action train us to live differently today?
The Grace of God Saves Us
First, our training begins with the grace of God saving us. Paul teaches that God’s grace ‘brings salvation.’ God, in outrageous love and kindness, has chosen to save a people who rejected and hated him. We were dead in our sin and opposed to God, but He chose to save us. He saved us from spiritual death, estrangement from God, condemnation, and the just wrath of God. We did not initiate this encounter, but God reached down to us and made us alive in Christ! God gave us a new hearts and placed His Spirit within us. Thus, our training begins with God’s loving kindness and powerful salvation that transforms us into children of God.
The Grace of God Shows Us A Better Way to Live
Our training continues as the grace of God shows us a better way to live. Having been delivered from our God-ignoring/hating/blaspheming ways, the kindness of God shows us a better way to live. The grace of God shows that God exists, loves us, and has reached out to us; it also puts on a new track of living—instead of love for self we center ourselves on love for God. The Christian lives a life of whole-hearted love and obedience to God, not because these actions merit God’s favor, but because God has already shown us wonderful favor and kindness. We live in light of the reality that ungodliness and worldly passions only take us away from our true source of life, joy, and real meaning. We’re trained to see things differently and to know that the God-centered life is better than the fleeting pleasures of sin.
The Grace of God Motivates and Equips Us to Live Differently
God’s grace not only saves us and shows us a better way to live, it also motivates and equips us live self-controlled, upright, godly lives in the present age. The Christian remembers daily how kind God is by considering the saving action of our ‘great God and Savior Jesus Christ.’ Jesus ‘gave himself for us.’ He gave himself for me. This happened through Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, as he died the death I deserved to die. Through this loving act, Jesus ‘redeemed us from all lawlessness and purified for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.’ The Christian has been redeemed from lawlessness (sin)–now as we’re tempted with the fleeting pleasures of evil, we reject them knowing that Christ has rescued us from them. The Christian has been purified for Jesus–we have been washed clean and belong no longer to ourselves, but to our great God and Savior Jesus! We belong to Jesus and have been equipped to be zealous for good works, knowing that our good works actually adorn or show the beauty of incredible God (Titus 2:10). In all this, we eagerly await our ‘blessed hope’, the appearing of Jesus who will one day return and bring us into His heavenly kingdom. Thus the grace of God motivates us and equips us to live differently.