God has called Christians to a special way of living. It’s different than anything else on earth. It’s a way of thinking and acting and reacting that is truly one-of-a-kind in the world. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s not something human beings can even do without God. We need Him to teach us how to live this unusual life.
“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. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.” Titus 2:11-15
God’s Grace is a Holy Teacher. God knows we have lessons to learn and His Wonderful and Precious Grace is our teacher. Paul explains the lessons clearly to Titus:
- to say “No” to ungodliness
- to say “No” to worldly lusts
- to live soberly, righteously and godly lives in the present age
The first thing to notice about the lessons of Grace is that they deal with real life. Paul is not presenting a theoretical theology here. He’s not pontificating from an ivory tower as one untouched by reality. He’s dealing with what every believer faces every day of their lives. We live in a world filled with ungodliness and sinful passions. Grace teaches us to say “no” to both.
“Ungodliness” is asebeian. It comes from the word aseben, which means “without worship.” It meant to be “godless, without fear and reverence of God.” A “godless” person is one who behaves in a way that is opposite of what the fear of God demands. The “ungodly” are wicked and immoral people. They reject God and His authority. They do as they please. The “ungodly” are concerned only with their will and not the Will of God. Paul tells Titus that Grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness.
Grace teaches us to say “Yes” to God’s Will. It teaches us that what God wants is the best thing for us and that’s what we should do. It means placing God first in our lives and saying “No” to thoughts that we know better than God. Grace teaches us to love and respect God for that is the beginning of Wisdom. Anything less takes us away from the full and beautiful relationship we can have with Him.
The more you understand and love a person and respect them for who and what they are brings you closer to them. The same is true with God. We are as close to God as we can be because Christ is “in” us and we are “in” Christ. God wants us to enjoy that intimacy in our relationship to Him. Grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness because it comes between our growing in love and intimacy with the Great God of Eternity. Grace will always lead us toward a deeper love of and devotion to God. We cannot grow in the direction of God when we’re growing in “ungodliness.” The two oppose each other. God opposes “ungodliness.” So must we.
“Worldly lusts” is kosmikas epithumias. “Worldly” is that which pertains to this world: the world you and I live in today. “Lusts” is a strong desire. It can be either good or bad. In this context, the passion is for that which pertains to this world, rather than God’s world. Grace teaches us to be passionate about the things of God and say “No” to being passionate for the things of this world. Does that mean Christians shouldn’t work or buy a home or invest in the stock market or get nice things for their children? No. Grace teaches us to put our passions in the proper order.
Our first passion should be for Christ. God tells us how to use our passions properly. He wants us to live for Him. He wants us to reach out to a world starving for His Grace and Love and tell them about Christ, the Lover of our Souls. God knows that our life is eternal and that giving ourselves to that which is eternal is the best way to live.
God does not live in a vacuum. He understands our life. He knows what we do. He knows our needs and desires. He knows our wants and dreams. He doesn’t ask us to live in a vacuum either. He tells us to live a godly life before our families. He tells husbands to love their wives. He tells wives to love their husbands. He tells parents to love their children and children to love their parents. He tells employees to work hard for their employers and be examples of God’s Love and Grace in the workplace. He tells employers to treat their employees fairly and with kindness. He tells Christians to behave gently around non-believers and be light and salt in their neighborhoods and communities.
Grace teaches us how to use our passions in every area of our days and nights to influence others for God’s purposes. God is the most balanced Being in the universe and His Grace teaches us how to be balanced as people who live on earth and are seated in the heavenlies.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”