The Great School of Grace

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

The Great School of Grace

How is it that His grace teaches us?

Consider Rom 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. He says that grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life. In other words, the rightness of God’s ways is embodied in His grace that’s reigning today, which leads sinners to eternal life. The rightness of His ways is found in His grace. Contained within that divine attribute of His grace is wisdom and understanding about who God is and how He operates, which is a model to us to understand who WE are now in Christ and how WE are to operate in this sin-cursed world.

So His grace teaches us.

The wisdom of His grace teaches us. The wisdom of His grace teaches us how to live. His grace to us is a model for the grace that we’re to show others. The grace He showed us when we were enemies to Him should inform us about all the grace we’re to show others who consider themselves enemies to us.

His love to us is a model for the love that we’re to show others. The love He showed us when we were enemies to Him should inform us about the love we’re to show others who consider themselves enemies to us.

So if God’s grace to us moved us to accept His Son by faith, then our grace to others should attract them to the gospel and God Himself, the God of all grace. Our response to hatred should be love and grace. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not… Recompense to no man evil for evil… If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

But His grace teaches us more than this.

Look again at Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world…

Living Righteously

How is it that His grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts?

We first encounter His grace in the gospel, don’t we? And we learn that if we place our faith in Christ’s shed blood for all our sins, we will have eternal life.

But how is it that our eternal life becomes a reality the moment we believed? We’d learn that the moment we believed we undergo a spiritual baptism by the Spirit. You are in Christ and He is in you. You are so one with Him, you’re now bones of His bones and flesh of His flesh. The baptism of the Spirit identifies you with Christ and what He accomplished for you at Calvary. You are no longer who you were before you got saved. You are now a new creature. Behold all things new!

Romans 6 teaches that you must now reckon yourself to be dead, buried, and risen with Christ.

If you consider the all-sufficiency of what Christ accomplished on the cross, how can we not become one with His death, burial, and resurrection the moment we gained His eternal life by believing? Because the very point of Christ dying on that cross is for you to have victory over sin and death with Him. You’re sharing with Him in His victory for you. You’ve been joined with Him in His victory over sin and death through the baptism of the Spirit.

So you must become spiritually dead, buried, and resurrected with Christ in order for that victory to become a reality in your life the moment you believed. It’s as if God the Father is saying, now that you’ve reckoned that my Son died, was buried, and resurrected for you, now go reckon that truth for yourself as being dead, buried, and resurrected with My Son.

This is how you will walk in His image and have victory over sin. Because identification goes hand-in-hand with the gospel. Because in order for you to reap the benefits of what Christ accomplished for you, you must be identified with His work on the cross for you. In order for you to become a new creature alive unto God freed from the bondage and condemnation of sin, you to have become dead, buried, and risen with Christ.

And that all happens the moment you believe. That moment you believed, you were baptized by the Spirit and through that baptism, you’re now dead, buried, and risen with Christ, which is necessary to make His eternal life a reality in you. If you’re dead with Christ, crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, then you must also be freed from the power of sin because he that is dead is freed from sin. For the work of the cross to be imputed to you, you must be in Christ, one with Christ, in order receive all the benefits of the cross. And if you are in Christ, if you are one with Christ, then you must also be a child of God, complete in Him, co-inheritor of all things with Christ. If Christ is seated in Heavenly places, then you must also be already seated together in Heavenly places with Him because you are one with Him.

That is absolutely, jaw-droppingly brilliant.

H.H. Snell, a Plymouth Brethen, once wrote, “But even now, while in a mortal body, and waiting for God’s Son from heaven, we know that divine grace has brought us into new relationships and set us in a totally new and unchanging position before God. We are thus no longer looked at as children of Adam, but children of God; not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, though we often painfully feel that the flesh is in us. We know, on the authority of God’s word, that our old man has been crucified with Christ, that we have died with Christ; thus, we have now no standing in the flesh, and our history as to the first man is forever closed by the death and judgment of the cross. We know also that when we were dead in sins, God, in His rich mercy, put life into our souls. We were quickened together with Christ, raised up together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; and by the gift and indwelling of the Holy Spirit are united to Him forever, who is the Head of the body, the Church. Thus, we are always looked at by God, where His grace and power have set us, as in Christ, complete, or filled full, in Him in whom the fulness of the Godhead bodily dwells. What marvelous heights of blessing then we have been brought into by the grace of God in and through Christ Jesus!”

So His grace teaches you who you are now in Christ, which means that you are a saint of God. Nothing can take that away from you. Which means that if you’re a saint, complete in Him, forgiven all trespasses, sealed by the Spirit, then you MUST deny ungodliness and worldly lusts… You MUST live soberly, righteously, and godly, in the world. You MUST now start to live like the saint God has made you in Christ.

So how do we live like the saints we are in Christ? By something we lovingly like to call the replacement principle. In other places in Paul’s letters, he’d say put off and put on. Put off the old man, put on the new man, etc. But here in Titus 2, we have something different.

We have deny and live.

I love that!

I love the fact that Paul first says that we’re to just deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. Because we’ve been freed from the power of sin, we need only deny in our minds that old manner of living. Just deny it. I’m not going to do it. Period. I’ve been empowered by His grace to say no to the flesh and all the ways I used to live. I’m done.

However, we don’t simply stop doing what is wrong. We replace that which is wrong with that which is right, which is God’s way of living. And you’ve been empowered by His grace to live like the saint you are in Christ.

So instead of focusing upon your mistakes, focus upon on Christ, who He is, where He is, focus on all His thinking, His feelings, His way of living. We deny ungodliness and lusts and we choose to live soberly, righteously, and godly.

What’s the difference between righteously and godly? Righteously is the rightness of His ways in all the things that we DO. But to be Godly is to be Christ-like in all the ways that we ARE, in our thinking and emotions, manifesting His life in us. We don’t simply stop doing the bad things we were doing. We start doing the good things Christ would do. We focus upon Christ, who He is, and we exhibit His attributes in our lives. We start living like the saint God has made us in Christ because the new man in us is made in the very image and righteousness of Christ. When we struggle in our walk, when we struggle with emotions like depression, it’s not because God has forgotten to be gracious in that area, but because we have forgotten His grace.

The very nature of grace itself, the nature of God’s divine grace, doesn’t command us to live this way. The nature of grace inspires us to live a life of gratitude and love for all the kindness and love and mercy He has already shown us.

For all these reasons, H.A. Ironside would call these passages in Titus 2 The Great School of Grace. Moody described these passages as God’s threefold aspect of grace: grace for salvation; grace for holy living; and grace for service. His grace for salvation has appeared to all men in His Son’s sacrifice for us and the dissemination of the Gospel. His grace for holy living comes by learning who we are now in Christ, and grace for holy service comes by knowing Christ better so we can manifest in our walk more of His life in us, which means that we deny and live. We deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. We deny ourselves the practice of ungodliness and living according to worldly lusts, to covet the things the world covets, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. And we choose to live. We choose to live righteously, according to the righteousness of God, the rightness of His ways, and choose to be Godly, which is to manifest His life in us, exhibiting the attributes of Christ in how we think and feel.

Notice what else His grace teaches us.

The grace of God teaches us that we should be continually looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Looking for the blessed hope is something His grace has taught us. Wouldn’t be much grace if we didn’t have any hope. And our hope isn’t wrapped up in a doctrine. Our hope is wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ who will be coming back for His church at any moment.

And we continually look for Him.

And that hope believers have in our eternal life by grace through faith is inseparable from our blessed hope, the certainty of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Because the rapture of the church will be the most glorious of all the graces He has ever graced us with! His grace taught us that the Rapture will be the climax to this age of grace, the greatest moment of grace in the history of the world! And we are to be looking for that! Everything we ever learned in all the sound doctrines of grace leads us to that moment, when the entire Body of Christ, billions of believers since the conversion of Saul, we’re all together in one place in our gloried bodies, all in the clouds with Christ, the head of the Body, all together as one, and sometime afterwards, we’ll take up our seats in Heavenly places.

The Rapture is the culmination of all His grace for the church today.

Notice, too, the Rapture isn’t simply doctrine we’re to understand. It isn’t simply something we’re to hope for, but we’re to be constantly looking for it, which also serves as motivation to live for Him until He comes.

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