Saturday, February 10, 2007

Titus 2:11-14 -- Grace, the rest of the story.

11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

This is one of my favorite passages as it has been instrumental in my understanding of the power of grace in Christ. Mainstream Christianity has done a great job at highlighting the justification half of grace whereby Christ atones for our sins. However, the other half of grace that empowers us to be sanctified and live a life in victory over sin receives very little attention. Why? Why does the church restrain itself and in some cases even refrain completely from the message of Titus 2:11-14? This message, that in Christ we have a grace that helps us fight sin and live for God, is so critical, awesome, freeing, and essential to our lives and our salvation. For me personally it has been a significant component of some personal breakthroughs and huge victories over my flesh. Jesus didn’t just shed his blood so we could just have victory when we die, but he laid it down for us so we could have victory today. The same grace that brings salvation also teaches us to say no to sin! If we do not take hold of this grace and live it out, we are taking for granted the blood of Christ. We are discounting so much of what he paid for so dearly. God desires a people that are “eager to do what is good”. This isn’t about doing works, it is about receiving and obediently using a gift that Christ died to give us.

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