“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” – Titus 2:11-14
When people go out of their way to help another person, we admire them. There is something about seeing a young person hold the door for an elder or a stranger stopping to help fix a flat tire. But when submerged in a lifestyle of sin, a person doesn't want help. They are content to live in the sin and despise those that try to help them. Only after their thinking has been transformed will they begin to change, desiring the help.
In Titus 2:11-14, the apostle Paul tells us about what God has done to bring us out of our sin, presenting the Gospel message for us to remember. God has brought us back into a relationship with Himself and taught us how we ought to live.
"The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11). What a grand statement! This grace, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (cf. 2 Tim 1:8-10, Titus 3:4), came in the flesh (John 1:14, 1 Tim 2:16). We did not deserve nor merit anything from God, yet He appeared to all people. In the context, we learn this is not every single individual person, but every age and class of people (cf. Titus 2:1-10). This grace came for His peculiar people (Matt 1:21), who are made up of every nation, age, and station. In the remaining verses, we learn about four things His grace did for believers.
First, Jesus teaches us through His word and actions how to deny the ungodly and worldly passions that we once gave into (Col 3:5-11). No longer being in bondage to sin, we fight against the flesh and seek to keep His commandments (Gal 5:16-18).
Next, Jesus not only teaches us to turn from certain actions but also instructs us on how we are to live. As His representatives in this present age, our actions should be disciplined, upright, and godly. We should never let the world direct our emotions, leading us to outbursts. Rather we are to be soberminded and self-controlled in our thinking so that our actions are upright and godly, meaning in accordance with God's word and moral standards.
Third, He also redeemed us from iniquity. Once in bondage to sin we could do nothing but sin and desire nothing more. Jesus, however paid the sin debt that we owed and brought us out of a life of lawlessness.
Finally, not only did He redeem us for Himself, but He also purified us. He is changing us through the power of the Holy Spirit and directing us because we are His chosen people. As His people, we are to be different from the world and zealous for good works out of thanksgiving for what He has done. We show our belief in Him by our works in this present age while looking to the future appearing of "our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).
Jesus, the grace of God has appeared. He redeemed us by teaching us to deny ungodliness and to live disciplined lives as His peculiar, purified people. He brought us out of our sin. Therefore, are we living as He taught us? Are we zealous for His good works? We should be.