THE GRACE OF GOD TEACHES
In a previous article it was shown that the way of salvation revealed in Titus 2:11 is obedience to Christ through obeying the gospel. That article showed the parts of the clauses of the verse in their relationship to each other. By doing that the statement is rendered, "The grace of God hath appeared that bringeth salvation to all men, ...." As is plainly indicated, verse 11 is merely the beginning of a longer statement. It is now our desire to explore another portion of that statement.
Verse 12 of Titus 2 adds a third verb or action to the subject, "grace." There we learn, "the grace of God hath appeared that bringeth salvation to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; ...." Having learned that "grace" is defined: good-will, loving-kindness, favor, it would appear that the "teaching" attributed to "grace" is not an activity of "grace," as such, but rather an activity of some means motivated by the good-will, loving-kindness, favor of God.
In the previous article we noted, "The grace of God" by "the gospel" has become visible, "that bringeth salvation to all men." Now let us observe that as "the gospel" makes visible "the grace of God" and by obedience to "the gospel" salvation is obtainable, so, also, by "the gospel" "the grace of God" teaches.
The idea expressed by the term, "grace," is one of motivation. Motives, themselves, are inactive. By His "grace" God was motivated to act. Giving "the gospel" was motivated by God's good-will, loving-kindness, favor. The only word in this definition of "grace" which might suggest action is kindness. However, in this definition it refers to disposition rather than to an action of God. We must understand that there is a means employed whenever and action is attributed to God's "grace." The means by which God's "grace" teaches is "the gospel."
Titus 2:12 shows two classes of "teaching" are to be found in "the gospel" motivated by God's "grace." There is negative and positive "teaching." the negative is considered first. We are taught to deny "ungodliness and worldly lusts." The word, "denying," is set in opposition to the word, "should," in the verse and, therefore, has the obvious meaning of: should not. We should not be ungodly persons who indulge our "worldly lusts."
Paul wrote, "There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins" (Ro. 11:26b - 27). Therefore, the import of "denying ungodliness" is that we should not commit "sins."
John wrote about the "lusts" to which Paul referred in Titus 2:12. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abides for ever" (1 Jn. 2:15 - 17). All should be able to see that by not indulging these "lusts" sin is avoided. (consider also James chapter 1.)
The positive "teaching" of God's "grace" found in "the gospel" is: "We should live soberly, righteously, and godly." These terms deal with propriety. They require proper treatment of self, others and God. We act in a proper way toward self, others and God, when we refuse to indulge or gratify "the lust of the flesh, ... lust of the eyes and the pride of life" and by so doing avoid sin.
In this passage we are shown that God's "grace" is extended to mankind by means of "the gospel" which teaches everything about living "in this present world" in such a way as to be the beneficiary of God's "grace" when "this present world" is no more. Let me urge you to OBEY THE GOSPEL THAT BRINGETH SALVATRION and be a beneficiary of God's "grace."
By Fred Shewmaker April 17, 1977.)
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