Trained by Grace

Our God is a gracious, loving God.  John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”  God did not have to send His Son or save you, but He chose to do so.    His grace has appeared to all men.  Titus 2:11-14 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” When you see the grace, the unmerited favor that Jesus Christ and God the Father have for you, what does that teach you?  In other words, what should your response be?

First of all, you should see how much God loved you.  He sent His only, beloved Son to be your sin substitute.  Jesus loved you so much that He laid down His life for you.  John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”  You weren’t even His friend; because of your sin, you were His enemy.  God’s love for you should generate in you love for Him.  1 John 4:19 “We love Him because He first loved us.”  When you love someone, you want to serve them and please them.  So when you see God’s love for your, you should love Him in return and desire to serve and please Him.

Besides loving you, why did God give you His grace?  He did so to “redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people (Titus 2:14).”  You were lost and sold to evil, sinful, lawless deeds.  Jesus paid the price to purchase or redeem you so that you would now belong to Him.  By being the sin offering and substitute for you, He purified you so that you are no longer polluted by your sin.  Isaiah 1:18 “’Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’”  Since through God’s grace you are now purified, His grace should teach you to remain pure.  That means you should deny yourself “ungodliness and worldly lusts (Titus 2:12).”

Ungodliness is anything that is contrary to the characteristics, thoughts and actions that God desires.  Worldly lusts are your strong desires for the things of the world – strong desires for things such as sensual pleasures, possessions, and pride. (See 1 John 2:15-16).  Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’” God’s grace should teach you to deny yourself ungodliness and worldly lusts.

God’s grace should teach you to live soberly.  This means you should be of sound mind, self-controlled and temperate in your actions.  The opposite of sober might be wild, uncontrolled, or intoxicated.  The world often exhibits wild behavior by wasting money, engaging in wild parties, sexual immorality, pleasure seeking, recreational drugs, and drunkenness.  God’s grace should teach you to live soberly.

God’s grace should teach you to live righteously.  That means you should have right thoughts and actions.  You should keep his commands.  God gave you righteousness because of your faith in Him and Jesus Christ, but you also have a responsibility to practice righteousness.  1 John 3:7 “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.”  God’s grace should teach you to live righteously.

God’s grace should teach you to live godly in this present age.  That means you should be God-fearing and devoted to God and His will.  You should be holy – set apart from the world and dedicated to God.  People in the world are typically self-seeking and walk according to the flesh.  In contrast, God’s grace should teach you to live godly.

Not only did He purify you to be one of His own special people, but He also wants you to be zealous for good works (Titus 2:14).  Not just pure, but also zealous – exhibiting enthusiasm and strong passion for good works.  Some people seem to be content to attend the church assemblies every week.  While that is good and important, zealous for good works should go far beyond the assembly to a daily life dedicated to serving God and your fellow man, just as Jesus went about doing good.

My encouragement to you is to be trained by the grace and love of God to love God, deny yourself ungodliness and worldly lusts, and live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age, being zealous for good works as you look for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.