V1111For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,. This is the beginning of a new section. Still there is a clear connection with the previous verses. You can derive that from the word “for” which indicates that everything that is said previously has its meaning through what follows. And what is it that follows? That is the teaching of “the grace of God”. You could say that all previous exhortations can only be realized by the teaching of the grace of God. In that teaching the doctrine of our Savior-God is being enunciated. However, not as a theory, as a theological dogma, but as something that is to be seen in our life on earth, which was seen in the life of the Lord Jesus.
The grace that appeared was revealed when the Lord Jesus came to earth in humiliation. Especially the gospel according to Luke exposes Him as the One Who revealed the grace of God to the whole of humanity. Already in the very beginning of that gospel you read how people wondered “at the gracious words which were falling from His lips” (Lk 4:2222And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”; cf. Psa 45:22You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.
When Christ came to earth by being born as Man, the grace of God appeared in His Person. In the Child in the manger you see how God opens His heart for all people. With that Child salvation comes to all people without exception. God’s salvation is not limited to a certain people. God had elected a certain nation to be His people. He had provided that nation with all possible means in order to serve Him and testify of Him towards all other nations. He gave them His law. But that nation was worse and more corrupted than all other nations.
When God sent His Son, it became evident how corrupted that nation was. All of their murderousness came to light. They killed Him because they couldn’t bear Him. Man is so depraved that he cannot stand God revealed in goodness. That was the end of all God’s efforts to make man serve Him.
Then an awesome change came into God’s way of acting. When man had delivered the proof of his absolute incorrigibility, the road was now opened for God to reveal His grace. That grace is present in the same Christ Who was killed by His people. Only, the offer of that salvation is not made to only one nation, but that offer is for all people. This offer is fitting to the value that God has for what His Son has done. Salvation is being offered to all people.
V1212instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,. Everyone who has been saved, old and young, man and woman, learn to know grace in still another way, namely as a teacher, for grace is “instructing us”. Grace gives us the necessary teaching on how to live as a believer. Therefore grace is for ‘all’ people, is being offered to all people, but is teaching ‘us’, which implies the believers.
This teaching of grace is a continuous process. Through this teaching new people are being made able to honor God in their new walk of life. The most important thing that is shown in this teaching is that the past has been condemned. In order to live to God’s honor, it is important to have a good view of your past. Before your conversion you lived without God. Your life was ungodly, which means that you did not ask for God. You pursued worldly lusts by focusing yourself on all things that the world can offer. That is what you lived for.
Through the teaching of grace you understand that “ungodliness and worldly lusts” can in no way have any room in your life anymore. You “deny” them. It is not an order to do that, but it is a matter of course. You have renounced these things as a conscious decision with a continuous effect. It is something you are to live up to on a daily basis.
If you have turned your back on ungodliness and lusts in this way, there comes room for the new life. You live your new life in the present, “in the present age”. Indeed that is an age, a territory of power which is so terribly evil that it rejected the Lord Jesus, but from which you have been delivered by the work of Christ and the will of God (Gal 1:44who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,). But you still live in it, but as a new man with totally other features than formerly.
1. The first feature is “sensible”. That indicates how you yourself are. You do not let yourself be dragged by the issues of the day; you can control yourself.
2. The second feature, “righteously”, touches your attitude towards others, like your brothers and sisters, your family members and colleagues, the world.
3. The third feature regards your attitude towards God. You live “godly”, which is in fear or reverence to God and you serve and honor Him.
In Job and Simeon you have examples of such a life (Job 1:1,81There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.8The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”; Lk 2:2525And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.).
V1313looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,. After you have seen the teaching of grace in verse 1212instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, for the past and the present, this teaching continues in verse 1313looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, with the future. While living in the present, you may look forward to a great future. The focal point in that future is “the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ”. With a view to that Paul speaks about a “blessed hope and the appearing of the glory”.
Our ‘blessed hope’ is that we shall see that glory when He will come to collect us, the church (1Thes 4:15-1715For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of [the] archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.17Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.). Regarding the world we may look forward to ‘the appearing of the glory’. All sin and the misery it had caused will come to an end when the Lord Jesus shall return to earth. He is ‘our great God and Savior’. The Man Who once was on earth in humiliation, in order to be the Savior of the world (Jn 4:4242and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”) is also the eternal God. He, Christ, can justly be called ‘great’ (Lk 1:3232He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;; Mt 5:3535or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING.; Lk 7:1616Fear gripped them all, and they [began] glorifying God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and, “God has visited His people!”; Heb 10:2121and since [we have] a great priest over the house of God,; 13:2020Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, [even] Jesus our Lord,).
V1414who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.. When Paul speaks about the glory of Christ he cannot help but speak about the great love of the Lord Jesus and about the great work He has accomplished. Jesus Christ “gave Himself for us”. He loved us that much that He not only gave everything He had (Mt 13:44-4644“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid [again]; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls,46and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.) and was willing to become poor for our sakes (2Cor 8:99For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.), but beyond all that He gave Himself. You read somewhere else that God gave His own Son (Jn 3:1616“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.; Rom 8:3232He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?), but here you read that the Lord Jesus gave Himself. And how did He do that? By giving His life a ransom for many (Mt 20:2828just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”; Jn 10:1111“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep., 15). He did that voluntarily. He died for you and me while we were still sinners (Rom 5:88But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.).
What did He have in mind when He gave Himself? He wanted to make us “a people for His own possession”. To achieve that it was necessary that He redeemed “us from every lawless deed”. To redeem here means as much as ‘to ransom’, ‘to release’. With this meaning this word appears another time only in 1 Peter 1 (1Pet 1:1818knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,). There Peter writes that we are not ‘redeemed’ with corruptible things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ. That means that a price has been paid for our redemption, which is nothing less than the precious blood of Christ. We have indeed been bought with a price that is not to be paid in terms of money (1Cor 7:2323You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.).
But, as it is said, that price is paid for our redemption, our liberation from a power by which we were completely captivated. That power was lawlessness. Lawlessness is the essence of sin (1Jn 3:44Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.). Lawlessness means that you rejected any form of authority that comes from God. The Lord Jesus has redeemed you from all lawlessness (cf. Psa 130:88And He will redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.) so that you may acknowledge Him as the only Commander. You belong now to a nation that He calls His ‘own possession’ (cf. Exo 19:55Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;) and to whom nothing of the uncleanness of the nations of the world is attached.
The only way that this nation could come into relation with Him was that He cleansed it. That also happened through His blood (1Jn 1:77but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.). Through His redemption you are His possession. Through His purification you meet with His holiness and you are able to serve Him by being “zealous” in doing “good deeds”. ‘Good deeds’ is everything you do in obedience to the Lord, for that is the way God is being glorified and others are blessed.
V1515These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.. Paul urgently asks Titus once more to definitely inform others everything that he said to him. If people do not want to heed this call because of their negligence, he should exhort them. And when he notices that his words are being resisted, then he ought to openly rebuke them. He should not hesitate, but he must speak with all authority. After all, he is a representative of the apostle.
But he must behave himself in accordance to his position. If he does not live up to what he says, others will despise him and his words will be in vain (cf. 1Tim 4:1212Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but [rather] in speech, conduct, love, faith [and] purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.).
Let us also speak on a regular basis with one another about the issues that this chapter has dealt with. We can tell these things to one another. When it appears that there are hindrances to practice the sound doctrine, let us then put them away or apply changes that are needed. The Lord is worthy of that. He has redeemed us and cleansed us for Himself.
Now read Titus 2:11-15 again.
Reflection: What do you learn in these verses about the practice of your Christian life? How does that become visible in your life?