Titus 2:11-14 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who 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.”
These verses in Titus elaborate the practical manifestation of His grace in our lives. It begins by giving us the reason for such a life, and ends with the future hope we have to look forward to.
For – The verse starts with the word ‘for’ signifying that we as followers of Christ conduct ourselves in a certain manner because of an existent reason.
That reason that forms the foundation of our conduct is what we believe in. Our conduct should be an outflow of His grace in our lives, our actions are not to earn His grace but a consequence of His grace in our lives. It is a sobering reminder of His immense love for us, this wonderful gift of salvation through grace which we received when we are in no way worthy.
Even with the comprehension of this glorious gift, there are moments we can live without the actuality of the realisation of the grace bestowed on us. Moments when we hold on to unforgiveness even when we have been so freely forgiven by God, moments we easily judge others, alluding that we are better than others when His word says that we ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
With His grace received, what difference has it made in your conduct? and
What is your conduct reflecting to others about your inner beliefs?
The reason that should rightly spur godly conduct – is the grace of God which brings salvation to all men. The coming of Jesus brought the message of salvation to all, His work on the cross is for each and every one of us. In terms of our relationship with Christ, position in society or ethnicity does not bear any relevance. What matters is a heart that acknowledges the unworthiness within and the need for a saviour.
“Teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age.”
Teaches us – implying that it is something we have to learn. For something to be taught and be effective it has to be received by a willing teachable student with a teachable spirit. To learn, first there should be a want, the want spurs the decision to commit to learn. If there is a want but no perseverance in your commitment, the learning is erratic and incomplete. When we want to learn something, we express a desire, commit to those classes and actively listen. And to learn best we go ahead and practice what we learnt.
You do not expect to learn anything in a classroom if you do not listen or focus on the teacher. A commitment to consistently sitting at Jesus’s feet with our focus singularly on HIM.
What kind of student to Christ are you? – a teachable one, a disciplined committed one, an eager one, a listening one or a practising one. We have to strive to be all, it can seem impossible but when there is a desire followed by effort toward it, God gives us the strength to pursue and be obedient to Him in a manner that would be impossible on our own.
He teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions.
Ungodliness – is living a life that does not acknowledge or reverence God. We in our sinful nature are inclined to live giving into our desires that are displeasing to God. Saying ‘no’ to ungodliness is acknowledging the desire to live in a manner that glorifies and honours Him as Lord of our life.
Worldly passions – the desire of our heart should be to please Him. What we as followers of Christ should be passionate about are things of God and not of this world. The desire to gain credence, merit and acknowledgement from this world should hold no grab on our hearts, because obedience to Him and pleasing Him is something to be treasured more than anything this world can offer.
It is not adequate to say No to ungodliness and worldly passions but we are to say yes to self-control, upright and godly living. And all of this in the present age, suggesting that we are not to live detached from this world. We are to be in it but not belong to it. A life of holiness and devotion that begins from the heart and is to be evident on the outside.
This passage emphasises living in the now but very much with an eternal perspective. Viewing things through the ‘kingdom lens’ helps us to always ground ourselves to what really matters. An eternal perspective affects our priorities and our perspective. Our life here and what we do now matters, God created us to live in the now but for eternity. Let where we are now not eclipse the reality of what lies ahead but spur us on to be united as His people eager to do good works.
These scripture verses remind us to look back to the significant demonstration of His love –the sacrifice of giving himself for us to make us His very own. We are His – that is our identity. That reality should have an implication on our lives and our conduct, living with an awareness of the gift we received allowing His grace to produce in us a godliness, holiness and zeal for doing what is good. Belonging to Him while being in the world with a firm and consistent gaze to the hope that lies ahead – the appearing of our God and saviour Jesus Christ who gave himself up for us.