The first episode of Planet Earth 2 contains an intense chase scene. Baby iguanas hatch on a beach to everyone’s delight. They slowly open their eyes for the first time and find themselves surrounded by rocks and empty beach…except for the gigantic snakes! These iguanas literally begin their lives on the run. Only the fast and brave survive.
Our lives can often feel like that little naïve hatchling. We have no idea what lurks inside the rocks, just beyond our vision. However, it’s actually much worse:
- We cannot save ourselves.
- We cannot train ourselves.
We need to be saved and trained by grace! Grace radically transforms those who understand it and receive it.
Written at crucial time in early church – many unfamiliar with Scripture. Paul instructs Titus to establish godly leadership > sound doctrine > sound living.
Read Titus 2:11-15
“For” reveals that this is the indicative that grounds the earlier imperative.
Training By Grace For the Present Age (11-12)
“Appeared” = Christ’s first coming (birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension).
“Bringing Salvation” = Offering? Making possible? Saving. Either Universalism or “all” doesn’t mean every individual. It refers to the gospel breaking down the separation between groups: gender, age, and social class.
“Training us” = Discipline/chastise (Old Testament) + Education (New Testament). Training involves (1) renouncing/denying old ways and (2) living for self/others/God in the present age.
That Paul recognized this training to occur under the hand of grace was revolutionary. At one point Paul considered himself a “blameless” Pharisee (Phil. 3:5-6).
It wasn’t until he met Christ on the way to persecute the Church, that he recognized his desperate need for salvation.
From that point on he understood that he couldn’t earn God’s favor through righteous deeds, but that he was already clothed in the righteousness of Christ by faith!
The same grace that saved us in the past, also trains us how to live in the present.
We must be saved and trained by the grace of Christ! Grace doesn’t free us to live however we want, but begins transforming our desires.
Worldly passions are replaced by a craving for something pure and lovely. Sin’s fleeting pleasures are replaced by the superior reward of grace.
Paul transitions from training by grace for the present age to…
Waiting With Hope For the Future Age (13-14)
Jesus is the personification of grace and the culmination of hope.
Anticipate the future with hope rather than anxiety about death.
Christ alone is both God and Savior:
- Grammar: Granville-Sharp Rule (article-substantive-καί-substantive) = 1 person (100% accurate).
- Linguistics: “Appearing” of God the Father would be unique.
- Context: Christ subject throughout passage.
- Setting: Contrast with pagan gods (Artemis) and emperor worship (Caesar). Cretans understood that Paul was confronting false religions.
Another paradigm shift to learn the Messiah was God. Paul affirms the deity of Jesus Christ as clear as any other New Testament author.
The future is secured by Christ’s past act of redemption, fulfilling Old Testament promises:
- Jesus gave himself.
- Jesus redeemed us individually. Set us free from the penalty and power of all past and present sins!
- Jesus cleansed us corporately for himself (Ezekiel 37:23).
The same grace that saved us in the past, also trains us how to live with hope for the future.
Wait for the glory of Christ! The gift of Christ redeems and purifies believers in preparation for his return.
Do you believe that? When the Holy Spirit opens your eyes to this truth your zeal will be uncontainable.
I could’ve titled this sermon: “Zealous For Good Works”. If that makes you cringe you don’t have genuine grace in mind. Because grace moves us. Grace compels us to be zealous in pleasing God.
Receiving this grace and hope fills us with a passion for…
Speaking With Authority About Both Ages (15)
“These things” = everything that precedes this verse in chapter two: Sound living that results from the sound teaching (2:1-10) of the gospel that transforms by grace (2:11-14).
This is the message that is to be declared continually, which involves exhorting Christians and rebuking false teachers with Paul’s apostolic support of Titus.
Titus shouldn’t be disregarded because he was young like Timothy (1 Tim. 4:12).
What characterizes most public discourse today is an ability to be elusive, non-committal, and wishy-washy. The unsettling goal of public speaking is to offend the fewest number of people.
Not everything demands to be thundered, but it’s time to quit whispering and begin speaking boldly about our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ! This is not incompatible with speaking the truth in love. We must not be ashamed of the gospel (Rom. 1:16)!
The message we are to boldly proclaim is this:
The same grace that saved us in the past, also trains us how to live in the present with hope for the future.
In other words, we are to be unashamed when we speak of the gospel of Christ! Although Paul was writing to Titus, the message would apply to the whole of Christ’s church who were being bombarded with false teaching.
We need to be…
- Training By Grace For the Present Age (11-12)
- Waiting With Hope For the Future Age (13-14)
- Speaking With Authority About Both Ages (15)
We are born under conditions that are hopeless. We cannot save ourselves. We cannot train ourselves. But Jesus Christ appeared! And he will appear again!
Those who turn to Christ as their God and Savior, will find a blessed hope. Are you being trained by the grace of Christ to wait for the glory of Christ? When you are doing both well, the result will be speaking of the gospel of Christ with passion and authority.