The Grace of God in Christ: The Ground of Godliness

Paul’s next point is a core doctrine in the NT. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people” (Tit. 2:11). The word “for” means “because” or “for the reason that.” Paul is saying, because the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation, this is how you should live then. In vv. 11-14, Paul gives the reason, the ground, or the basis for his instructions in godly living in vv. 1-10.

Thus, Paul is saying in Tit. 1:9 that those false teachers who say they know God, but live in sin are wrong—“for the grace of God has appeared.” In Tit. 2:1, Paul is saying, older men, be sober-minded—“for the grace of God has appeared.” In v. 2, older women, be reverent, “for the grace of God has appeared.” In vv. 5-6, young women and young men, be self-controlled, “for the grace of God has appeared.” In v. 7, church teachers, be models of good works, “for the grace of God has appeared.” In v. 10, slaves, do not steal, “for the grace of God has appeared.”

We see three major points of grace in vv. 11-14—(1) The Indication of Grace (v. 11); (2) The Instruction of Grace (vv. 12-13); and (3) The Intention of Grace (v. 14).

In the Indication of Grace, there is (1) the grace of God; (2) the appearance of the grace of God; and (3) the saving grace of God.

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people” (Tit. 2:11). The grace of God is the saving act of God in Christ. It refers to the act of God in sending His Son Jesus Christ. The grace of God can refer to two things—the Christ-event and Christ Himself.

First, the grace of God refers to the Christ-event—the revelation of grace in history from the birth of Christ to the death of Christ. The grace of God was manifested in the work of Christ. When Christ gave sight to the blind, there was the grace of God. One day,

29 two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” . . . Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened.” (Matt. 9:27-29).

When Christ healed the sick, there was the grace of God. When Christ cleansed the lepers, there was the grace of God. When Christ fed the 5,000, there was the grace of God. When Christ raised the dead, there was the grace of God. When Christ forgave sins, there was the grace of God. When Christ died on the cross, there was the grace of God.

The grace of God is centered in the Christ-event. The grace of God is the Christ-event. The Christ-event is the grace of God.

Second, the grace of God refers to Christ Himself. Paul wrote in 2 Tim. 1:9-10.

9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,  

10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

Paul talks of the grace that God “gave us in Christ Jesus.” The grace of God, therefore, is personified in Christ. The personification of God’s grace is Christ. Christ is the grace of God. Hence, the grace of God is centered not only in the event of Christ. The grace of God is centered also in the person of Jesus Christ. The central element in the grace of God is the revelation of Christ as God’s favor to undeserving sinners.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s