“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 (NKJV)
In the last part of this passage we are reminded what was done to make this grace available to us. I think most of us in here are familiar with the horror of the cross. We have read the Biblical accounts. We have studied Isaiah 53. We have probably also either seen The Passion of the Christ or the clips that show beating and crucifixion of Jesus. From this we can easily see that what Jesus endured on the cross to make this grace possible was no small thing. It was a horrific and excruciatingly painful way to die.
Take a second and just think about what Jesus endured for us on the cross. As you think about what He endured, does it make sense to think that He endured this so we could have $3 of God? Does it make sense to that He would endure so we could be forgiven of sin and then continue to live in sin? Does it make sense that He would endure this so we could have a get out of hell free card and do our own thing until eternity? No, of course not. We see in the last part of this passage what He did endure that for.
First we see that He endured it to redeem us from every lawless deed. The word “every” is significant because it means every. No matter which translation you read this verse in they all give the idea that Jesus came to redeem us from every sin. He didn’t endure the cross to redeem us from some sin and then leave us in others. A part of the reason He wants to redeem us from every sin is so that we can be purified. He endured the cross to redeem us from all sin so that we could be a holy people.
“God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.” 1 Corinthians 1:30 (NLT) For us to be holy in attitude and action is absolutely one of the reasons that Jesus endured the cross. Holiness in attitude and action isn’t opposed to grace. It is possible because of grace.
Paul goes on to explain that another part of the purpose of this was so that we would be His own special people zealous for good works. The idea is that as Jesus’ very own people we would be zealous and totally committed to doing His will.
“He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.” 2 Corinthians 5:15 (NLT)
To live zealously for Jesus isn’t coming to church, giving some during the offering and avoiding big sins. To live zealously for Jesus means that we seek to live for Jesus’ glory in every area of our lives. This means…
The way we interact with others
The way we manage our time
The way we handle our finances
The way we raise our children
What we watch on TV
What we listen to on the radio
What we look at on the Internet
The way we act on our jobs.
It includes every aspect of our lives. It means that we surrender ever area of our lives to Jesus and we live it for His glory.
Some may consider this a radical way to live. The reality though is that this is just what the Bible calls Christianity. This is the way that Jesus always meant for us to live.
“…If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:23-26 (NKJV)
This way of life isn’t opposed to grace. It is simply the way that God’s grace teaches us and enables us to live.
Paul closed out this section by telling Titus to speak these things with authority. He was to exhort or encourage people to understand God’s grace and let it teach them to live for God. He was also to rebuke or correct those who disagreed with how God’s grace taught them to live for God.
We must authoritatively and accurately teach God’s grace and live in God’s grace. We cannot let the fact that many despise holiness, transformed thinking and unwavering devotion to God keep us from teaching that these things aren’t radical and they aren’t legalistic, they are simply the way God’s grace teaches us to live.