Paul has called Titus to teach believers how to behave in a way that matches the Gospel (2:1-10). This behavior is not just for goodness sake; it is not to earn a place in God’s family. This behavior matches the Gospel and is based in the Gospel. The foundation for right behavior is the Good News of what God has done for us in Christ.
This is clearly seen in the word “For” at the beginning of verse 11. Why behave in this way? Why “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior”? “For, the grace of God has appeared…” The grace of God is the basis, enablement, and motivation for right living. We are new in Christ, so we live in a new way.
Grace is often defined as “unmerited favor.” God does show us kindness that we do not deserve. However, there is more to grace than “undeserved kindness.” I appreciate Jerry Bridges’s book The Transforming Power of the Gospel. Bridges explains that grace goes deeper than the common definition.
“To understand grace, we must realize we are not just undeserving of God’s favor and blessing; we are all ill deserving” (Bridges, Transforming Power, 80).
“We are all ill deserving” (Ibid). We not only don’t deserve God’s love, but we do deserve His judgement now and forever in hell for our sins. Yet, God has chosen to show us kindness rather than showing us His fierce anger. This love of God has appeared.
The word “appeared” is the word from which we get the word “epiphany.” The grace of God has been made known, made visible, brought to light. The grace of God has been clearly seen.
Paul is very clear in this passage that the grace of God appeared when Jesus Christ appeared. This grace appeared when He “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession…” (2:14).
John 1:14 (ESV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus Christ has come. He is full of grace and truth. He has faced the fierce anger of God in our place for our sin (1 John 2:2). In His death, He has set us free from lawlessness (Titus 2:14).
Part of the foundation for our right behavior is the first coming of Jesus Christ. This is when the grace of God has appeared bringing deliverance from sin.
Bridges, Jerry. The Transforming Power of the Gospel. NavPress, 2012.
This is an edited excerpt of a sermon preached 11/29/2020 at First Baptist Church of Ticonderoga, NY.
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