For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.Titus 2:11-15
The irony is that many Christians today are straddling that thin line between being a true Christian and living in the world. We have not fully committed ourselves to the life that God wants us to live instead we opt to live double lives — claiming to be saved by grace and yet at the same time giving in to the desires of the flesh. In the book of Titus chapter 1, we see the same problem — there were those who claimed to be Christians, claiming to be saved by grace and yet they continued with their worldly ways. They used grace as their license to continue living in sin. But we know this is not what grace is. . . and this is not how our salvation works for us.
The grace of God is available to everyone but is not beneficial to everybody. . . the only time it becomes beneficial IF we accept God’s saving grace. Although it is God’s desire that every person becomes born again, this has been His desire since the fall of Adam and Eve. Ephesians 2:8-9 says For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. This makes it very clear that we have nothing to do with our own salvation. Our salvation is a free gift — we don’t have to do anything to earn it, we don’t have to be good, we don’t have to work for it — only receive the gift from by God.
This Saving Grace is a grace that redeems. Similar to a jewelry pawned at a pawn shop, we were bought back at full price. When man fell into sin it was as if we were pawned, but because of God’s great love for us He redeemed us — not with money but with the blood of His only Son.
LEGALISM – defined as relying on our own obedience to either gain or maintain acceptance with God. You do everything the bible says so that you will be saved or you do everything the bible says so that i will remain saved. This can often lead us to becoming judgmental.
LICENTIOUSNESS – is perverting God’s grace to mean we can live without conscience or convictions. This is the belief that “I can do everything because i am under grace”.
GRACE – is unmerited favor that has been offered to us. We did not do anything to deserve it, it is only by the work of Jesus Christ that we have been granted the grace of salvation. But God’s grace does not stop with salvation — it goes on to sanctify us.
What does sanctification mean?
Sanctify means to set apart for a special purpose. God had always intended to save us. Unfortunately in the Old Testament when the law was given, people were unable to follow the law 100% of time and therefore they could not be saved. But Jesus Christ changed that in His death and resurrection — and it was through Jesus Christ that we were able to receive our salvation and our adoption as children of God. We were destined not only to be saved but to be sanctified as well. God intends to sanctify us so that other people may see our transformed lives and these people will then know that there is a God who can change lives and can change people.
The word of God encourages us to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, it is never God’s plan for us to become stagnant. It doesn’t stop when we become born again, rather God wants to continue to work in us so that we can continue to enjoy another level of His grace and glory that is why He wants us to continue to grow. 2 Peter 3:18 says But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. It is in the continuous process of growing in grace and knowledge of Jesus that we transition from saving grace to transforming grace. This is the grace that transforms the believer’s life making us more Christ-like. Then later we receive the enabling grace, that is the grace that will allow us to do what God wants us to do.
This is the biggest conflict of many Christians — our inability to say “No” to temptation. The sin is not in the temptation, the sin happens when we succumb to the temptation. Titus 2:12 says It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self- controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age”. This is our weakness — the difficulty of saying no to temptation, which leads to ungodliness and then brush it off with the excuse “I’m only human” or “I am not perfect.” We justify our mistakes and ungodliness.
Instead, we should emulate Daniel that he resolved not to defile himself and preserve himself for God’s purpose. (Daniel 1:8) Let us like Daniel make a daily resolve in our hearts not to defile ourselves, to not give in to ungodliness but rather declare that our life belongs to the Lord and we will seek to please Him.
It is also by the grace of God that we will be able to say “No”. It is the grace of God that teaches us to say “No”. It is the grace of God that will discipline us, that will give us courage and encourage us to say “No” to any ungodliness.
Levitucus 20:26 tells us You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own. This command was explained in the New Testament in Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
This reminds us that we are His masterpieces, that we are being molded and transformed into His will for us. In the Old Testament, it was simply given as a command but in the New Testament, it is through the work of Jesus in our lives that we can become His masterpieces – – this is God’s grace.
Jesus tells us in John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. It is the vine that bears the fruit, the branches are merely extensions of the vine. A branch detached from the vine, it can no longer bears fruit. Translated into our lives — this tells us that we are merely exhibit carriers of Jesus’ work in our life. . . but this can only be possible if we continue to abide in Jesus, if we continue to cling to the vine.
And then we, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6) And God’s work in us starts the day we receive the free gift of salvation. We must then like in Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. This however does not mean that we will work for our own salvation, but rather we have to allow the Holy Spirit to continue the work in us so that the results of this work will be brought out and can be seen as a testimony of God’s work. For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2:13) This reminds us that even the intention of becoming Christ-like and living a godly life comes from God. It is Him who gives us the will in order to act to fulfill His purpose. For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you (Isaiah 41:13) F Much like a parent holding on to his child’s hand to lead him to safety, so the Lord Himself holds on to our hand to lead us on.
Living a Christ-like life is impossible, but God has promised to hold our hands through it. It is by His grace, by His molding and by His transforming of our life that we can become more like Jesus Christ. Our job is to Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience (Hebrews 4:11) — this in effect is our contribution to the equation. . . to do everything we can to enter into that rest. Let us become pliable in the hands of our Creator, let us allow ourselves to go with the flow, not resisting just serenely entering into God’s rest.