Friday, December 14, 2007

The Grace of God That Brings Salvation

When the Holy Spirit authored the letter to Titus, the instructions to Titus were to set things in order in the church on the island of Crete (Titus 1:5). In this letter Titus was given the qualifications for elders to be "ordained in every city" (1:5). Also instructions were given for dealing with false teachers, and the importance of "Sound Doctrine" was stressed. He gave timeless instruction concerning the proper conduct of "aged men," "aged women," "young women," and "young men" (2:2-10). Then he declares; "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men" (2:11). We ask the question, what is this, and what does it mean?

In Acts 20:24, Paul through inspiration tells us WHAT it is. "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." This gospel of the grace of God contains, commandments, words, and laws.

How does this "grace of God" bring salvation? The answer; through preaching. Paul said; "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Rom.1:16). The Holy Spirit also reveals to us that it is the responsibility of the church to proclaim this message. "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God" (Eph.3:10). This will include all religious instruction man needs for proper service to the Lord.

To whom has this "grace of God" appeared? The scripture says to "all men." It is no longer only for the Jews, but for all men. God does not want for anyone to be lost (2 Peter 3:9), but for everyone to come to repentance. This however does not negate man’s responsibility to be obedient to the Lord’s commands.

We are told that this "Grace of God that brings salvation" teaches things (Titus 2:12). "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;" This will involve more than just "Grace only." The grace of God teaches us both negatively and positively.

Negatively, that we must deny: ungodliness, and worldly lusts. Meaning that even though we live in this world we cannot act like this world, for we, as obedient Christians, have been redeemed from all iniquity, and purified unto Christ, a peculiar people (Titus 2:14).
This grace of God that brings salvation teaches us positively that we must live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (2:13). We are then to be "Christlike" in our thinking and behavior as we influence others in this walk of life.

No doubt, we are saved by GRACE (Rom.8:24), but we are also saved by FAITH (Acts 16:30-31), and by MERCY (Titus 3:5), and by OBEDIENCE (Heb.5:8-9), as well as the WORD (James 1:21). Fact of the matter is that the "Grace of God that brings salvation" includes all of the above.

David Harris

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