God’s Grace and Holiness
One of the grandest expressions of the gospel is contained in Titus 2:11, where Paul tells us, “The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.” How could there be any better news than that? What was invisible for many centuries and what was once unavailable has now come into view. Moreover, this grace has appeared not simply for the benefit of a chosen few but for “everyone.” It is what the apostle elsewhere calls “the power of God for salvation” (Rom. 1:16).
With such power at our disposal, we are sometimes disappointed when we find there are a number of painful chapters in the book of grace. To most people, the word “power” suggests instant transformation and easy accomplishment. We often forget that grace is a schoolteacher who has appeared with very specific instructions.
In Titus 2:12, we learn the lesson plan. This teacher has appeared, “instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.” We can learn to say no to sin and worldly appetites. We can learn what holiness consists of, and we can find sensible ways to acquire and display it. What’s more, we can do it here and now, even when the cultural climate seems unreceptive. And it is only through God’s grace that we can even attempt to live a righteous life.
Such learning may take time, but progress in this school is just as much a tribute to God’s grace as are the instant changes that sometimes occur right after a person gets saved.
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