Last week, we studied Titus 2:1-10. There we studied “Behavior that Matches the Good News of Jesus Christ.” Titus was called to teach the believers on Crete the kind of behavior that matches the Good News of Jesus Christ (2:1). We studied the kind of behavior that is consistent with the Good News (2:2-10). We looked at how the different groups in the church were to behave in light of their being under new ownership. In light of the fact that Jesus saved them and owned them, this is how they were to behave. The same is true for believers today. Jesus has saved us and owns us; we are to live in a way consistent with His character and message.
We kept referring to Titus 2:11-14 as we studied verses 1-10. The word “for” at the beginning of verse 11 is an indicator that Titus 2:1-10 cannot and does not stand on its own. It actually stands firmly on the foundation of Titus 2:11-14.
Titus 2:11-14 is the basis, enablement, and motivation for Titus 2:1-10. The behavior we find at the beginning of this chapter rests on and flows out of the teaching at the end of the chapter.
Titus 2:11-14 is the Gospel. It is the Good News of Jesus Christ that He has died to set us free from lawlessness, owns us, and is coming again in victory. The Gospel is the basis for the duty of Titus 2:1-10.
This is true throughout the Bible. Behavior never rests on its own in the Bible. In other words, God does not command people to behave a certain way for the sake of just being good. He certainly never commands them to do good works to be in a right relationship with Him. The behavior of God’s people is always based in the character and work of God. It is always based in our relationship with God. It is always based in the Good News.
This is true in the Old and New Testaments. The people of Israel were not commanded to obey the law just to be good. They were also not commanded to obey in order to be right with God. Instead, they were called to obey based upon God’s rescuing them from Egypt and calling them to be His special people – His kingdom of priests. You can look at an example of this in Exodus 19:1-6. The nation of Israel was called to keep God’s covenant, because He had delivered them from Egypt for Himself.
This is true in the New Covenant era. The people of God are never called to earn our right standing with God by doing good works. Instead, we are called to live as God’s people in light of His work on our behalf. This is true in every one of the New Testament letters. We are not called to behave just to be good. We are not called to behave to be made right. We are to behave in a way that matches the Good News of Jesus. Jesus has died for us, purchased us for Himself, set us free from sin, given us new life, given us new hearts, given us Himself, and given us all blessing in Himself. He has made us His special covenant people. He is coming again. We are commanded, enabled, and motivated to live as His people, because of this Good News.
Paul gave Titus the command to teach behavior matching sound doctrine (the Good News) in Titus 2:1-10. Now, in Titus 2:11-14, Paul gives the Good News we are to match. It is the teaching and belief that enables and drives our new behavior.
Behavior that is just for goodness sake is a dead moralism. Behavior to earn a right standing with God is legalism and empty religion. God’s commands are always based in who He is and what He has done in Christ. The behavior God commands is never just to be good; it is never to earn a place in God’s family. We are new people in Jesus because of Jesus’ work. Our behavior is based in and enabled by this Good News.
There are two aspects of the Good News that Paul has in mind in this passage:
- The gracious appearance of Jesus to give Himself for us.
- The appearing of His glory at His second coming, which is our Happy Confidence.
This is an excerpt from a sermon preached at First Baptist Church of Ticonderoga on 11/29/2020
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