Last week, we began learning some amazing lessons for living the unique life that God calls His children to live. It’s not for everyone. This life is often hard and sometimes dangerous, but it is a life filled with great joy and eternal blessings. Here’s how it works:
“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
Paul tells Titus that Grace teaches us “to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” Grace begins by teaching us what “not” to do. Then it teaches what to do instead.
“Soberly” is sophronos. The word comes from sophron, which comes from soos, which means “sound,” and phre, which means “understanding.” It carries the idea of being of a sound mind. A sound understanding of what’s right and wrong, real and unreal, proper and improper leads to soberness and self-control. Dr. Vine wrote this about sophronos: “it suggests the exercise of that self-restraint that governs all passions and desires, enabling the believer to be conformed to the mind of Christ.” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words).
Self-control is one of the greatest lessons parents can teach their children. It is the great lesson God’s Grace will teach Christians. We must control ourselves. Lack of self-control has led to some of the darkest days in the lives of Christians, their families and churches. Most of us have witnessed the damage the lack of self-control has caused in the Christian community. How we need God’s Grace to teach us quickly before the Body of Christ loses its power to demonstrate God’s Love to the lost and dying around us. How we need to understand Christ “in” us, the hope of glory. We must pray every day that Grace will teach us “self-control.” We can use our passions fully for God when we learn to control the passions for self.
“Righteously” is dikaios. It comes from the word dik. Ancient Greeks understood the meaning to be expected behavior or conformity to the imposed standard of another with a prescribed punishment for nonconformity. A “righteous” person is one who conforms to what is right and just. Grace teaches us to conform to what God says is right and just. God is our Authority. He established the standards. He explained the standards. He governs those standards and stands as the only Judge of those standards. God determines what is right and wrong. No one else can do that. No one.
God uses human beings to explain God’s standards and even enforce them at times, but no one can stand as God in our lives. Good laws are those laws that are based on God’s standards and God’s judgment of what is right and what is wrong. Good leadership is leadership that is based on God’s standards for leadership and His judgment of what is right and wrong. Grace stands ready at every moment to teach us the lesson of being “upright.” Grace uses God’s Word to instruct us in His righteousness and justice. Christ “in” us uses His Grace to lead us where He wants us to be.
“Godly” is eusebos. It comes from eu, which means “well,” and sebomai, which means “to be devout.” We are “godly” because we are “in” Christ and He is “in” us. We are the “righteousness” of God in Christ. That is our position in Christ. Christ “in” us will show us how to live a “godly” life. Christ teaches us how to behave in accordance with who we are in Him. Christ shows us how to wake up in the morning thinking about how to please God that day. Christ shows us how to go through our day looking for each new opportunity that arises to please God. Christ shows us how to go to bed at night reflecting on how we pleased God that day and how we might please Him tomorrow.
“Godliness” is not what we do when we enter the church building on Sunday. It’s what we do Friday and Saturday night when we’re out with friends. It’s what we do in the private moments when no one else sees us. It’s what we do at work and school and in our home. It’s the way we live every moment of our lives. “Godliness” is an attitude that reflects the Face of God in our thoughts and actions. “Godliness” is our way of life. It comes from our relationship with the God Who lives “in” us.
These are Lessons of Grace. This is what God would have us do while we’re on earth. He wants us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly lusts. He wants us to say “Yes” to living soberly, righteously and godly lives in this present age.
“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.”
It’s important to remember that what we’re doing today is in light of something far greater than what we see now. We’re living our sober, righteous and godly lives while we wait for Christ in us to take us to Heaven. What do we do while we wait? Jesus 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.” Our time of waiting should be taken up with an eagerness to do what is good. That’s where our passions should flow. That’s what should drive us. “Doing good” is the result of the Lesson of Grace! Be eager to learn it.
Heavenly Father, help each of us to hear Your Voice each day. Help us to learn the Lessons of Grace that You so kindly and patiently teach us. Help us see what’s important and direct our strong desires to what You desire. Help us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly lusts. Help us to say “Yes” to living soberly, righteously and godly lives in this present age. Help us to be eager to do good.
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.”