For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
These verses are incredible, and studying them has brought to me a greater and more in depth understanding of the meaning of grace, and how it look like in a day to day basis. Isn't it wonderful how the Word of God is alive? How it speaks to us? No matter how many times in my life I have read Titus; this is the first time I see this:
"[T]he grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions"
If the grace of God has appeared -and it has appeared- then it means that I did not expect it come. I was not waiting for it. It just appeared; all of a sudden. It broke right in the middle of my situation and did not ask me permission. It appeared, just like the angel appeared to Mary, and her life was abruptly changed. Grace appears at the moment when the world seems to be falling apart, and hope seems impossible. The Grace of God appeared in the person of Jesus. "Grace is not some abstract doctrine or theological construct. Grace comes as Christ does. Grace is as personal as He is."
God's grace comes in the person of Jesus to bring salvation to His people and to train us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions. WOW! I had never seen this! The grace of God not only saves us, but trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions. How many admonitions and instructions Paul has given to the church through Titus; at times it seems impossible to live up to those standards; but here is the key: Just as Grace appeared to save us; it has appeared to train us in holiness.
Bryan Chapell says,
This grace of God that appears the moment we are drowning in sin, saves us and trains us to say no to sin. Saying "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions is possible only because the grace of God has appeared. Only because of Jesus.
"Such grace should make us so in love with God that we cannot stand whatever in our lives re-soil us and offends him. Biblical grace makes us intolerant of evil in our lives."
"When we see God clearly in the appearance of His grace, we have an intense awareness of our unholiness... A true apprehension of grace instructs us of the magnitude and repugnance of our sin." Bryan Chapell
But is not enough to say "no" to all ungodliness and worldly passions; we must, by God's grace, say "yes" to God's requirements: to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age. (v.12b)
I love the way Chapell explains this,
"If being a Christian only involved self-control over passions and upright' behavior before others, we might get the idea that the Christian life was only a matter of living according to certain rules or performing in an acceptable way. By adding the word godly to the ways of grace teaches us to live, the apostle reminds us that the Christian life is one of dependence on God. Godliness is not a consequence of human resolution or willpower. It is a relationship with God that results in a life honoring to God."
And in this grace we live. "Godliness remains our obligation until Jesus returns." It is in this state of training, of working in godliness that we wait for our blessed hope. Let us persevere in this training always depending on his perfect grace.