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Living by Grace

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. Titus 2:11-12 NIV

Read Titus 2

In our Bible study, we have been looking at the book of Leviticus, which is filled with many rules, including when sacrifices are to be made and specific instructions on how they will be made. There were no shortcuts or deviations from what God had given, or the offering would become blemished–and in the case of two of Aarons's sons who profaned the sacrifice death. (Lev. 10:1). The law-based relationship changed with the coming of Jesus Christ, who himself was the pure, unblemished lamb of atonement for our sins, and it's by God's grace that the emphasis shifts from adherence to the law to faith.

As I have mentioned before, we presently live in an "in-between time." Jesus has ascended, and we await his return. While the strict legality of Leviticus is no longer a requirement of salvation, it doesn't mean that we are free to do whatever we wish–we have been given freedom from sin, but it doesn't mean we live without rules. Titus guides us on how to live as God's people set apart. We are the modern-day Israelites living in intervening times. 

While Titus addresses particular groups, I'm sure for good reasons, given the historical context. However, we should read all of these statements as equally applicable to each of us. Also, while he references teaching, we can read it as an invitation for obedience. We should read the scriptures more broadly, paying closer attention to what is being said than to whom.

Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. (v. 2)

Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. (v. 3)

Urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (v. 4-5)

Encourage the young men to be self-controlled (v. 6). (NOTE: This is especially interesting because it shows up in three places.)

Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive. (v. 8-10) (NOTE: slaves and masters, and younger women and husbands, should be read as any subservient relationship. For example, we might substitute employer for master and employee for slaves. Also, we are all subject to Our Father as his children.)

God has sent the Holy Spirit to give us the courage and strength to say "No" in the face of wrongness and "Yes" to righteousness. As new wickedness continually unfolds around us in this "in-between time," we rely heavily on God's grace to live as his "set apart people."

Heavenly Father, we come before you with hearts full of gratitude. Your Word teaches us to live in a manner that reflects your love and grace. Lord, help us to be temperate, worthy of respect, and self-controlled. May we live with reverence and wisdom. May our words be uplifting, avoiding slander and excess. May we love each other, demonstrating self-control, purity, and kindness. May our homes be places of love and grace, reflecting your Word. Compassionate God, we thank you for the grace that has appeared, offering salvation to all. Teach us to say "No" to ungodliness and to live upright, godly lives. We eagerly await the blessed hope—the glorious return of our Savior, Jesus Christ. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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