The Appearing Grace of God Nick Ballenger

August 26, 2019

“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,” — Titus 2:11-13

I remember my father taking me for driving lessons when I was 14 at an empty parking lot across the street that belonged to a middle school. He would let me drive around and learn how to change gears, park the car and come to a complete stop.

One day we were practicing parking the car, and instead of hitting the brake I hit the gas.  I popped the car up onto the sidewalk and begin accelerating towards the school, and the entire time the car was speeding through the grass I was continually apologizing to my dad.  He said, “It’s fine son, but please stop the car.”  I did stop the car…about five feet from the middle school.

Before you can drive, you have to learn to drive.  You need a safe environment to practice in, and after you have acquired enough skills, you go to the DMV and attempt to obtain a license.  In South Carolina, as a teenager, you get what’s called a permit and are allowed to drive with an adult in the car.  Eventually through time and more practice, you receive an official license by passing the driver’s test.

In driving there is a method to the madness.  There are steps that one must take before going on, or being able to go on to the next thing.  In a way that it what this passage in Titus is saying.

Titus is a pastoral epistle in a sense, meaning that it has much to say about pastors, to pastors and the role of pastors within the church.  But this particular section above speaks to all believers about the grace and glory of God.

In verse 11 it says, “For the grace of God has appeared,” and this phrase itself is an interesting one.  The understanding that some have of “grace” is not something that is tangible, so when we read that grace “appeared,” questions arise.

But if we look to the rest of the verse we begin to understand what Paul is saying when he writes, “…bringing salvation for all people,” which provides the reader some context to the fact that the grace of God is concerning salvation, and therefore concerning Christ Himself.

Paul says that the grace of God not only has appeared, it also brings salvation for all people. This does not mean that everyone will be saved. This passage means that the free gift of the grace of God found in Christ Jesus is for all people. There will not be a person who feels like God has been unfair to them when they meet Him. While some will be judged according to their sin and thrown into the lake of fire[1], no one will see this as an act of injustice by God; instead, they will see it as a sorrowful and proper ruling.

However, for those who are found to be in Christ, the wrath of God has been satisfied in Christ Jesus on the cross, and those that believe in His Name will know only the grace of God as He covers their sin-filled lives in the blood of Christ, and that covering is for all who would believe.

This should give both the unbeliever and believer great confidence in God. To the believer they should be keenly aware that they have been saved from a terrible righteous judgment, and to the unbeliever they should know that no matter how “far off” they may seem from God, His grace is able to abound even the greatest of sins and sinners.

Paul then goes on to write that the grace of God will not only appear, not only save, but it will train “…us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives…”

The grace of God through the Holy Spirit grows us in conformity to Christ Jesus through the power of His Word. In this sanctifying process, the believer moves from the world to Christ as they have found the greater treasure[2], and they grow in the wisdom and fear of the Lord understanding this temporal existence is not the end. Having this mindset of Christ allows the believer to not be destroyed by things that happen in life, to have a correct perspective on temporal and eternal things and to live in a sacrificial way knowing their kingdom is not of this world.

Paul moves into this way of thinking when he writes, “…waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…”

This hope that Paul is writing about is the foundational basis of the life of a believer.

For the Christian, to live is Christ and to die is gain. The believer knows that they have no hope outside of Christ, and they live their life in such a way that establishes this fact as a witness of this truth to the world.

1 Corinthians 15:19 should be true for all believers when Paul writes, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

This verse will not mean much to those that are not living as Christ, but to those founded in Christ, this means a daily check of self. If we were to find out that God is not real after this life, would people pity us for how we spent our time here?

Think about it.

If God’s Word isn’t true, how much does your life change? How much do your daily activities, thoughts, family scenario…how much does it change?

Does it change?

If not, then you and I are living as the world, and we may not really believe what we claim. But if we claim that Christ is our treasure, that the gospel is true, then we will continue to grow in Christ and seek to make disciples as obedient lovers of God.

So today, do we know the grace of God in our lives? Is it something that we welcome as it moves us more and more towards conformity to Christ? Are we longing for this blessed hope appearing that is Christ Jesus return?

Ask God to continue His work to conform you to Christ, and if you don’t know Him, know that His free gift of abounding grace is available to you in Christ Jesus’ work on the cross. This hope is for you.

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[1] Rev 20:15

[2] Matt 13:44

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