The Saving Grace of God

Paul wrote that the grace of God appeared, “bringing salvation for all people” (v. 11). God’s grace is a saving grace. It saves us from sin—the root of our alienation from God and of all of the problems of humanity.

One day Jesus passed by Jericho.

2 And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.

3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature.

4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way.

5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”

6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.

7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”

8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”

9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.

10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Lk. 19:2-10)

The words “bringing salvation” translate only one adjective in the Greek, soterios, which means, “saving, delivering, bringing salvation.” (Gingrich) The adjective, soterios, does not have the article. Without the article, it is translated, (1) “the grace of God bringing salvation;” (2) “the grace of God saving;” (3) “the saving grace of God;” or (4) “the grace of God with saving power.” (Knight) God’s grace is a saving grace, a grace with saving power.

Twice, Paul emphasized the saving grace of God in Titus. First, he writes in Tit. 2:11, “the grace of God bringing salvation.” Then he writes in Tit. 3:4-5, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us.” God’s grace is a saving grace.

Now the scope of this saving grace of God is “all people” (v. 11). In Tit. 3:2, Paul says we should show courtesy “to all people.” In 1 Tim. 4:1, we are to pray for “all people.” In 1 Tim. 4:2, God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (cf. Acts 17:30). The plain sense of Paul’s words is that “all people” refers to all sinners, including every sinner.

If Paul meant all “kinds” of people, he would have used that word. If Paul meant all “saved” people, he would have used that word. But he did not refer to all kinds of people, or all saved people. He meant all people.

Paul does not say that the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation for “some” people–the elect. Rather, the grace of God with saving power is for all people. The saving grace of God is for all people.

It does not mean that the grace of God will save all people. It means that the saving grace of God is provided for all people. Paul is not teaching universal salvation. He is teaching a universal provision and offer of salvation for all people.

In v. 14, Paul wrote that this grace is meant “to redeem us.” In v. 11, this grace is for all people. Then in v. 14, this grace is for us who are saved. How can this grace be for all people and still be for us? We see that this grace is universally available—for all people. Yet this grace is specifically applied—for us. Thus, the availability of God’s grace is for all people. But the application of God’s grace is for those who believe in Christ. The saving grace of God is available for all people, yet applicable only for those who believe.

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